Crew planning and optimization are central to any airline´s operations, cost management, and customer service delivery. Typically, airlines assign thousands of employees to hundreds of flights with aircrafts varying considerably in size, equipment, and configuration. Crew skills, experience, and preferences must be considered, along with company policies, union rules, and labor regulations.
Cancellations, delays, diversions – commercial aviation moves to the constant beat of irregular operations (IROPS) and other disruptions. Each year the cost of disruption to airlines and their customers runs into an estimated $60 billion. IROPS pose a constant challenge to profits and maintaining customer satisfaction. Survival amid these challenges requires the right technology and effective communication between personnel.
Despite the deep rooted shortcomings in the customer service meted out to even highest rung loyalty members, lack of technology can render the best of human staff members incapable of delivering the service that is due to their passengers. This is more frequent can one may imagine, and certainly beyond the point where an airline's operations control centre can claim innocence.
Airlines that seek to gain real value from their OCC should be conscientious in selecting the right kind of platform to support them. In the absence of a suitable technology platform, managing the data exchange and offering in-depth analysis according to the strategic directives of the OCC management professionals, poses a huge challenge. An ideal airline operations management platform is one that operates on a fundamental foundation of data and supports the basic tenets of Situational Awareness, Collaborative Disruption Management, What-If Analysis, Management by exception and Mobility and Cloud.
There is an ever changing and never ending dynamics of factors that contribute towards effective management of airline operations disruption and recovery. Mathematicians, business analysts and operations research experts around the world have been working hard for years to find appropriate recovery solutions for disruptions in airline operations, but the holy grail of optimal recovery remains elusive.
Disruptions occur regularly and every airline OCC has a sophisticated disruption management policy to mitigate the impact for travelers and crews. A single operations platform for all activities on the day-of-ops can enable airlines who operate as a group to flexibly respond to disruptions. Information sharing can be simplified if all group airlines have access to the same digital platform which is integrating all relevant operations data like reservations, load planning, flight planning, weather, maintenance, airport, passenger data, aircraft, crew, Air Traffic Control, station and hub data.
Airline operations controllers worldwide discuss about "Situational Awareness", but in their daily operations they insist on "seeing it all“ before taking a decision. The question really is - Is this a good approach?
An Operations Control Center (OCC) manages several complex aspects of airline operations, such as the expensive fleet of modern and old aircraft, large number of crew members, detailed maintenance cycles, optimization of fuel burn, ATC communications, airport slots and so much more. Unfortunately, most OCCs are powered by legacy IT systems that might result in airlines running a high risk of frequent and often expensive disruption in their services. The good news is, Modern IT systems with ‘Situational Awareness’, take a different path. By displaying only the relevant information, they reduce screen complexity, thus enabling users to understand the situation better and take the most appropriate decision.