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A New Zealand company is flying high, with confirmation of a $1m deal with AirAsia Group, selling the world first cloud-based airline operational management tool throughout Asia.

The smart combination of cloud computing and next generation airline logistics covering crew and aircraft movement, have catapulted savvy three year-old merlot.aero up with the big players internationally.

However, it’s not an unfamiliar position for CEO, Mark McCaughan, who has more than 20 years in aviation IT, most recently with the build and sale of a similar product (Geneva Airline Operations Management System) to a US division of Accenture. At the time of sale, the product was the staple of over 35 airlines around the world

It’s given him a new perspective on doing it better, smarter and faster. The new merlot.aero uses a mix of local and offshore developers, boosting its ability to scale enhancements to the existing product line as well as new products.

“Airlines use merlot.aero to forecast, organise, plan, predict, measure and report on their operation to optimise daily aircraft and crew utilisation. The solution controls and reports on core operational information, in turn enabling airlines to manage their business and to achieve regulatory compliance while maximising operational efficiency,” says McCaughan.

“The result is improved operations management (based on key performance indicators), and cost minimisation through optimal organisation of both staff and aircraft resources.

“In simple terms, it touches every aspect of airline management, minimising delays, improving on time performance, or keeping us all safe by ensuring crew fly within their limits.”

McCaughan describes the company as a game changer. “We have a unique blend of cloud computing capabilities and the ability to rapidly roll out product features combined with up to the minute product development tools and a highly knowledgeable staff that are passionate about the industry.”

"We know, for instance, that the Holy Grail for airlines is regulatory compliance, maximising crew and aircraft operating efficiency whilst minimising costs. We keep these at the forefront of our thinking whatever we do.”

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