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.