Disaster recovery within 15 minutes at Delta

Duplicate site and drills ensure business continuity
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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

ATLANTA—If Delta Air Lines’ Operations Control Center is incapacitated due to a fire, extreme weather or bomb, it can set up within 15 minutes at a duplicate facility already in place nearby. That’s been proven during yearly drills.

Tasked with monitoring the safety and security of 4,900 daily flights, even that 15 minutes can be vital for the OCC.  You can’t be out of touch with aircraft for much longer, Damon Cox, supervisor, domestic operations, flight control, said during the ASIS 2014 Media Tour.

The duplicate site has the exact access control for employees, the same office layout, workstations, computer terminals and more.

The bustling, yet quiet OCC is responsible for the safety of each Delta flight. It monitors weather with a professional meteorology staff, political happenings in the world that might impact flights, traffic patterns and virtually every other type of potential disruption to its flight schedule. If your Delta flight is delayed or canceled, it’s OCC that made that call.

If there’s a mid-air disturbance on any one of Delta’s flights worldwide, Kevin Wilhite, with corporate security at the OCC, will hear about it.

When he gets a direct call at his security station from a flight crew, he’ll immediately be touch with the TSA, FBI, CIA and other authorities as the situation warrants. Databases will be checked and Wilhite will find out if there is an air marshal on board the flight. He then will determine whether it’s necessary for the flight to be rerouted to a closer landing site, if the disruptive passenger should be restrained or what other protective measures the flight crew should take, if any.

J. Randy Ryan, district manager for Allied Barton, conducted the tour of the large, multi-building Delta campus, including its OCC. Ryan, a former Delta employee, is in charge of physical security on the Delta campus, including its access control systems and fingerprinting center for prospective and current employees.

The site uses Andover Continuum for its access control, provided by systems integrator Convergint Technologies.

Security on the campus is tight, especially when it comes to Delta’s technical operations center, or TOC, which repairs and maintains aircraft, Ryan said. Titanium, gold, silver and platinum are used in repairs there and the facility also has direct access to the nearby Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. A separate security system is in place at that site and access is heavily restricted.

In addition, Delta is soon to open its Delta Heritage Museum on the campus, which will provide additional security challenges, Ryan said. There’s a separate entrance to the secure the campus for the museum, but keeping museum visitors off the main campus eventually may require a fence, he said.