Staying Ahead of Schedule: How Tail Planning Can Enhance MRO & Fleet Management for Airlines

Staying Ahead of Schedule: How Tail Planning Can Enhance MRO & Fleet Management for Airlines

Commercial aviation market figures are staggering. In its current outlook, Boeing predicts orders for nearly 40,000 new aircraft over the subsequent 20 years valued at $5.9 trillion. Much of the boom in passenger demand and fleet expansion is being driven by Fleet Management for airlines within the Middle East and Asia-Pacific, which are witnessing year-on-year air passenger demand of over 10 percent eclipsing the expansion in demand of carriers in North America and Europe. As Kevin Deal, vice chairman, North America, for Aerospace & Defense at IFS explains, there are new solutions that provide airline operators with a far better way of working to combat aircraft preparation and maintenance challenges as fleet schedules become more complex. All airlines face pressure to extend efficiency by sweating airframe assets. But, it’s a posh issue how do planners optimize aircraft allocation while dealing with unexpected operational changes and unscheduled maintenance? A typical airline will have an aircraft allocation team on this chore, spending some 3-4 hours to organize a one-day optimized plan. But, tightly planned schedules can quickly be thrown out of kilter by last-minute changes. Add in weather, airport delays, or engine failures and airline operations can soon become jeopardized.

The Elements of designing 

The utilization and optimization of a fleet involve a variety of interrelating factors that requires balancing and reconciling to supply a price and asset-efficient schedule. For instance, long-term maintenance, destination-based constraints, and aircraft restrictions got to be factored into route scheduling, to not mention the unscheduled, short- and mid-term maintenance requirements that have got to even be managed compliantly. At an equivalent time, elements like fleet allocation, flight frequency, and seat planning must be synchronized with crew rostering, ground support, and equipment planning. As more planes fancy the skies and more routes are introduced, the optimization of an airline fleet quickly becomes too complex for traditional planning methods to handle.

The Tail Planning Challenge

Any number of variables can affect fleet planning and cause major headaches for airlines. For a start, a fleet often contains aircraft of various ages and capabilities like flight range, flight capacity, and even class of travel. The upkeep requirements of every air­craft also will differ at any point in time counting on the number of hours operated, landings made, and therefore the care window available. 

​Effective tail planning can provide airlines with an edge as they keep passengers happy and protect their bottom line   

The lack of maintenance synchronization can cause a sequence of disruptions, meaning air­craft are unavailable for flights and adding to lost revenues. the consequences of those delays flow down the network, beginning a costly snow­ball effect of more delays or cancellations. All airlines are vulnerable to ‘unknown unknowns’. For instance, the International air transportation Association (IATA) estimated that the infamous 2010 Eyjafjallajökull volcano cost airlines $12 Mn each day thanks to schedule disruptions. No amount of affordable planning or contingency can account for ‘acts of God’ or political disruption, but airlines are often better prepared for when these events happen within the future. When the unknown strikes, re-planning a whole fleet schedule quickly becomes a task that's overlarge to manage manually.

New Solutions Now Provide Aircraft Planning-from Head to Tail

Traditional tail planning software hasn’t constantly kept pace with this progressive growth and complexity. To avoid revenue lost through inefficient or delayed actions, airline operators got to check out new solutions that specialize in the three key areas to require full advantage of the booming commercial industry.

1. Route Efficiency

With aircraft capable of flying more routes than ever before, airlines and passengers are trying to find more efficient aviation on both short and long-range routes. Armed with an optimized tail planning solution, airlines can automatically determine which aircraft is best suited to fly a route by watching the range and fuel efficiency of that aircraft, for instance, employing a newer, more fuel-efficient aircraft on a route or vice versa-because of operation or maintenance needs. Airlines must even be ready to analyze data to think about other aircraft types if required, for instance, comparing the value of ground servicing an aircraft during a stopover.

2. Fleet Utilization

Tail assignment per route becomes importantly less of an operational management issue for the airline if all the individual and cumulative fleet constraints are reconciled by one solution. The complexity of fleet commonality also becomes less of a problem because the solution should account for several more of the individual restrictions and requirements from each aircraft than a manual planner. This makes it easier to satisfy restrictions and make an idea that's viable for all aircraft, without having a negative impact on the payload or making adjustments to the fleet.

3. Maintenance Planning

Maintenance planning must even be optimized by finding the simplest slot for the airline, maintenance crew, and aircraft. Factors like hanger capacity, personnel availability, and specific maintenance requirements of every aircraft must be considered and wont to optimize the upkeep schedule with the flight schedule. Maintenance and flight planning have different priorities maintenance means inactive aircraft while flight planners want as many planes within the air as possible.

A Competitive edge up a Booming Industry

With passenger and airline growth showing no signs of slowing down, modernizing the allocation and optimization of aircraft within a posh fleet will only increase in importance. To satisfy this challenge, these new solutions are developed to make sure the multiple elements of airlines getting to run smoothly together and supply planners with instant readjustments when faced with disruption. Within the competitive world of economic aviation, effective tail planning can provide airlines with a foothold as they keep passengers happy and protect their bottom line. Failure to plan can leave airlines trailing within the wake of more organized carriers maintaining with the booming commercial aviation market.

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