Aviation is a complicated sector and organisations like airport operators and airlines depend on contractors to provide services such as security, IT, catering, maintenance, load marshalling and baggage handling.
Some airports are publicly owned, often by consortiums of Local Authorities or partnerships between public bodies and the private sector. As public bodies their contracts have to be let following procurement rules laid down in the follow the Public Contracts Regulations 2015. As a consultancy, we have significant experience of the regulations and are on the European Commission’s framework to provide training to Member States on how to comply with the Regulations. Clients therefore benefit from the insight we can bring to preparing such bids.
Common questions our bid writers prepare for aviation bids include:
- Compliance with aviation regulations
- Staff recruitment and training
- TUPE transfer
- IT systems (design, build and integration)
- Information assurance
- Performance management
- Management of risks and issues
- Contingency planning
- Partnership working and stakeholder engagement
- Logistical planning
- Quality Management
- Sustainability, including environmental management
- Delivering value for money.
Our approach to Aviation Bid Writing
We adopt a flexible approach to preparing these types of bids as each one is different and our clients have different requirements.
Given aviation bids are often large and complex, we typically produce and agree a bid plan at the start of the project with you that includes bid phases, key deliverables and milestones.
They are likely to include:
- Holding an initial workshop with those people in your company who will have an input into the bid so that we all understand the nature of the bid, your strategy, key milestones and deadlines.
- Identifying subject matter experts – those people in your company who hold the information we need to prepare the tender.
- Creating a storyboard for each question – that is an outline of the content, win themes and evidence – by interviewing the subject matter experts and holding workshops.
- Producing a first draft of the responses to each question for review by the subject matter experts to check for factual accuracy. These are sometimes called Amber Reviews.
- Identifying from the narrative opportunity to enhance the bid by providing diagrams, graphs and other forms of visual evidence.
- Refining the responses following feedback from the Amber Reviews ahead of presenting the draft bid to a wider team within your company who will be responsible for approving its content. These are sometimes called Red Reviews.
- Final polishing of the narrative ahead of a final sign-off by your management team and its submission to you client (Gold Reviews).
Our experience in Aviation Bid Writing
The following provides an overview of the types of aviation bids we have supported.
We successfully produced a bid for an integrated baggage IT system at Heathrow Airport
Integrated Baggage IT System Bid Writing
Heathrow Airport commissioned in 2015 a contract to design and deliver a new Integrated Baggage IT System. The airport handles upwards of 5,000 pieces of baggage every hour and needs to track their location at all times, delivering bags to the right flights.
Data taken from check-in desks and the different baggage systems operating across the 5 different terminals would provide the airport and 80 different airlines with operational performance reports and help to drive improvements for the future.
We supported a client to tender for this contract, as a market-leader in the design, installation and maintenance of conveyancing systems. The bid was particularly complicated given the need to migrate large amounts of live data from legacy systems and the large number of stakeholders involved from individual airlines to the different airport terminals. The client benefited from the experience of bids for conveyancing systems that have complicated IT systems behind them. As a result, the client’s bid was successful and they were awarded the contract by Heathrow Airport.
Baggage Handling Systems
Airports around the world rely on conveyancing handling systems to move passenger baggage from check-in to aircraft for loading. Once in the system, bar codes on each piece of baggage are read by IT systems that control the journey it takes, passing through security screening machines and down to make-up points for batching. In between time, the baggage may pass through an automated Early Bag Store, where it is held until the flight is ready for loading. As passenger numbers grow and security screening requirements become more stringent, airports are having to upgrade their systems and procedures.
We have developed significant expertise since 2015 when we prepared our first bid for an airport baggage handling system and have now supported the same client with over 7 other bids into the likes of Heathrow, Gatwick, Birmingham, Manchester, and Stansted Airports. Bids have included the design, manufacture, installation, commissioning and maintenance of systems.
We have supported bids into Heathrow, Gatwick Birmingham, Manchester and Stansted Airports
We produced a bid to IAG Cargo for the construction of a new parcel and post facility at Heathrow
IAG Cargo’s Parcel and Post Facility Bid Writing
International Aviation Group is the parent company for British Airways. IAG’s cargo division tendered in 2015 for the construction of a new facility on a brown field site at Heathrow to cater for its expanding parcel and post division.
The tender required bidders to set out how they would deliver a phased approach to the works which included the clearance and refurbishment of an existing building together with the construction of a new one. Once open, the new facility would be large enough to cater for a sophisticated conveyancing system capable of processing the significant volumes of parcel, post and cargo handled by British Airways every day.
We supported a client to prepare its successful Pre-Qualification Questionnaire for that contract, working with their subject matter experts to gather the information required to provide an outline solution that caught the airline’s attention.
Immigration Holding Facilities Bid Writing
The Home Office processes over 133 million passenger arrivals each year at ports and airports. Each one has to be be checked to establish right to live or otherwise visit the UK. In most cases, passengers are bone fide, but a small number may not qualify for entry, pose a security risk or may be attempting to enter using forged passports.
The main airports have short-term holding facilities where passengers can be held for up to 24 hours pending a decision on their immigration case or their removal from the UK on the next available flight. These facilities are operated by private sector security companies.
We have significant experience of the security and custody market, having supported various bids over the last 5 years for the operation of prisons, detention centres and detainee escorting. We were therefore commissioned to support a client bidding to the Home Office for the operation of the holding facilities as part of a wider contract. This was a large bid that involved significant TUPE transfer of staff, logistical planning, catering, welfare, IT systems, and compliance with aviation regulations given staff and vehicles move from land to airside throughout the day and night.
Short-term holding facilities at ports and airports are used for passengers held by Border Force pending conclusion of their immigration case