The Client

KLM was established on October 7th, 1919, making it the world’s oldest airline still operating under its original name. Operating out of its home base in Amsterdam, the KLM Group serves its global network with a fleet of 214 aircraft in 2019, employing 33,000 people. In May 2004, Air France and KLM joined forces and is today the largest European airline group: 1 group, 2 airlines, and 3 businesses. Each airline has retained its individual identity, trade name, and brand. The 3 core businesses are Passenger Business, Cargo, and Engineering & Maintenance.

The department is part of Air France Industries KLM Engineering & Maintenance (AFI KLM E&M). Their role is to guarantee the smooth operation of the aircraft. They are classified as a major multi-product MRO (maintenance, repair, overhaul) provider. With a workforce of over 14,000, AFI KLM E&M offers comprehensive technical support ranging from engineering and line maintenance to engine overhaul, aerostructure, and fan thrust reverser support, as well as management, repair, and supply of components backed by a powerful logistics network. They support almost 3,000 aircraft operated by 200 major airlines.

The Project

Ground Time Slots is conceived as the first step of a bigger plan about phasing out legacy mainframe systems which are expensive and hard to maintain by replacing them with the State of the Art technologies.

Our role at KLM is not only about writing maintainable, reliable and future proof code but also about contributing towards a better team performance by improving the communication, coaching other engineers, doing code reviews and identifying points where we can save time and money for our clients, like reusing code across multiple applications and so on.

Aircraft maintenance is without a doubt something very complex, planning when it’s going to happen as well, as aircraft have to be in the air as much as possible. The mission of Ground Time Slots (GTS) is to provide a high-quality, reliable platform for the engineering and maintenance department. This department needs to have a clear insight into what’s happening in the hangars, for instance when an aircraft needs a technical check, or when it needs to be compliant with some country-specific regulations.

Technologies

  • Java 8, Spring Boot
  • PostgreSQL
  • Apache Kafka
  • Junit 4, Gatling
  • Bamboo, Kubernetes
  • Angular 8, Angular Material
  • Selenium, Protractor

When Sytac first stepped into the project, we found a team that was constantly changing in composition. The onboarding process of new team members had a high learning curve because of all the terminology one needed to learn and the lack of documentation in some areas. So it was hard to get new members productive in a quick manner. Back then, the first action taken was to improve the documentation, and therefore the onboarding process for new members. Team building sessions were organized regularly, and a big improvement from sprint to sprint in terms of velocity and accuracy in our Agile development cycle was soon noticeable.

Sytac also suggested having bi-weekly meetings with the architects in order to have a global overview of the bigger picture. With a better understanding of the interaction with our consumers, we were able to provide much better solutions adjusted to our client’s needs. Definitely this was key to being successful with the product we build.

Results

After 6 months of hard work, the development team was able to deliver a product of which the team is not only proud of but also the users were very satisfied. Ground Time Slots contains all the functionality that was present on the legacy systems plus a lot of usability improvements, performance improvements, bug fixes, and more.

This was certainly a big and important step towards phasing out the mainframe systems, a first step in reducing our client’s costs.