Case study: Ex radios fly high at KLM

Case study: Ex radios fly high at KLM

Royal Dutch Airlines turns to TETRA radios for safety in an explosive environment.

 

Dutch airliner KLM makes no money when aircraft sit on the ground. That makes quick aircraft turnaround essential to the bottom line.

Maintenance crews clean, inspect, replenish and refuel some 650 KLM aircraft a day. During this process, even small interruptions, such as delays or gate changes, can have big consequences without quick and precise communication.

So when KLM decided to replace its analogue radio network at Schiphol airport in 2007, it needed radios that would keep ground crews in constant, clear contact.

Plus, the airline had one other requirement: Because fuel service teams would also use the radios, the radios had to be safe in a potentially explosive environment.

No wonder KLM turned to distributor KPN for THR880i Ex radios. They're designed to be safe in an explosive atmosphere.

Ex radios for fuel service safety

Airline fuel service teams face a daunting task.

"Fuelers work in extraordinary circumstances," says Marcel Treffers, product manager voice at KLM Information Services. "They handle explosive materials in a hazardous situation while wearing safety clothing and dealing with much surrounding noise. For these folks, we needed a terminal that was 100 percent secure and 100 percent operational."

"Fuelers work in extraordinary circumstances. They handle explosive materials in a hazardous situation while wearing safety clothing and dealing with much surrounding noise."

- Marcel Treffers, product manager voice at KLM Information Services  

KLM got what it needed with the THR880i Ex radios. These radios are equipped with Savox C-C500 speaker microphones, designed specifically for use in potentially explosive environments.

The Ex radios are approved by ATEX, which means they comply with two EU directives describing what equipment and approaches are allowed in an explosive environment. (ATEX derives its name from the French title of the one of the directives: Appareils destinés à être utilisés en ATmosphères EXplosibles.)

Ex radios for airline security

The Ex radios have met Treffers' high expectations.

"We've been using the Ex radios for quite a while, and they've lived up to their promise," Treffers says. "The fuelers can wear them on their belt with a microphone clipped to their jacket. The microphone is easy to operate while wearing gloves, so the business critical voice communication can run smoothly."

Other benefits of the Ex radios, according to Treffers:

  • "They're functional, robust and secure."
  • "The volume is good."
  • "The new communications system also supports telephony, giving our Control Centres direct contact with the fuelers."

Treffers also appreciates the support he's received from KPN.

"KLM is an airline. Information and communication technologies are of course business critical for us, but not a ‘core business,'" Treffers says. "That's why we rely on specialist partners. The relationship with KPN is characterised by involvement and commitment on all levels."

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