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Commercial strategy

How airport and airline operations can better prepare for equipment changes

April 28, 2020

It is the intention of the modern-day airline scheduling process to provide a plan for the operating patterns of aircraft to meet […]

It is the intention of the modern-day airline scheduling process to provide a plan for the operating patterns of aircraft to meet anticipated demand.

But what happens when something abruptly changes?

Regardless of how well you plan, things don’t always play out the way you expect. When you’re operating in a tightly controlled environment with limited resources, responding quickly when things change begins with having more lead time.

Success in air operations, ground and logistics depends on managing change in the schedule. But it’s not always about capacity or time changes. There are several scenarios where the only aspect of the schedule to change is the equipment, and that can have a huge impact on operations.

How might you better prepare for a change in equipment?

Every moment spent searching for information when you need it most can feel like an eternity.

If you want to give your team as much time as possible to adjust to the situation, then you need updates on all equipment changes for all flights into your airport, or into a series of airports.

Why not set you team up for special email alerts straight to your mobile devices?

Cirium now offers Market Alerts to help you see details in schedule changes sooner, so you can inform your operations with the latest updates for faster response. With these alerts, you’ll know when to run contingency plans or change resources.

Real life example from Edwin Rukyalekere, Business Solutions Advisor for Cirium:

“Working as South African Airways Deputy Airport Manager, part of my mandate was to oversee RwandAir B737s aircraft demands, such as fuel, servicing, cleaning etc., at OR Tambo International Airport in J’burg South Africa four times per week. My job would have been made easier if the airline had provided me equipment change information well in advance to mitigate challenges associated with airport planning. With Market Alerts, I would’ve been able to see when equipment changes were being made from a B737-800 to A320 aircraft so that fuel and catering could be measured to fit. This also applied to my maintenance team that needed to be aware of what tools were required to service the aircraft once parked overnight.”

Here are three reasons Market Alerts can help you and your team better prepare for equipment changes:

Reason #1: Equipment changes require immediate response

For airline station managers and airport operations personnel, it’s not hard to imagine that frantic feeling when you first hear a flight that normally operates on a Boeing 737 is suddenly upgrading to a Boeing 787.

Now you have to jump into action with almost no notice. You scramble to speak with both the airport and airline management to make sure a gate is available to accommodate the widebody twin-aisle aircraft. With Market Alerts, you would have more time to coordinate and communicate with your stakeholders.

Reason #2: Equipment changes require resource changes

If you’re a station manager for a company that provides catering and fuelling services for an international carrier at an airport, you have to know what type of aircraft you’re servicing so you can allocate the right amount of resource. Market Alerts would alert you to equipment changes in your existing market, so you can plan to increase or reduce your catering orders accordingly and determine how much fuel you must have on hand.

Reason #3: Equipment changes require alerting staff

A single airline could operate multiple equipment types—from the Embraer E-190 to the Boeing 787-10—and service providers must ensure that the aircraft is turned from arrival to departure within a reasonable time frame.

If the airlines have not given timely visibility into their schedule and equipment changes, then this could cause your team to miss out on performance escalators. Market Alerts would alert staff to equipment changes early enough to ensure efficient baggage handling, ramp services, etc. to meet or exceed service level requirements.

How do you customize the alerts to meet your needs?

As you can see, there are various scenarios where a schedule change alert can make or break your team’s workflow. If you want to ensure each alert provides meaningful information, think critically about the underlying purpose of the alert.

When setting up an alert, consider separating the scenarios by level of impact.

  • Name your alerts with helpful “action” words to make scanning your email easier.
  • Create “FYI” alerts for those minor equipment changes, where you know you can handle it within normal operations.
  • Create “Warning” alerts for a set of aircraft that will require significant rearranging of your services.

Your strength is in how you best optimize revenue, resource and process. Closely monitoring schedule data can help you achieve that next level of optimization with timely information – in fact, it can create a competitive advantage for you.

Adapt to changing market demands with Cirium Market Alerts and get competitive insights every day for commercial planning, airport business development

Seize the opportunity – we at Cirium are here to help.

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