Airline planning and scheduling groups frequently have decisions to make that can be difficult to predict, and become quite complex when the implications for an entire schedule are considered.
The first thing airline schedulers tell us they would like to have to make better decisions is “good data” to help them know which changes are better than others. They would like to have:
- profitability data by flight segment,
- current booking data from the reservations system (daily update), and
- forecast revenue for each flight.
Some schedulers also mention that they would like data to help them know:
- the risk of violating an airport’s 80:20 rule and losing a valuable slot, and
- whether a change violates operational constraints, gate limits or maintenance rules.
You can guess that the second thing schedulers want is a system that enables them to use of all this data in one place. Can intelligent decision support tools be designed to solve problems within the scheduling system? Today’s planners often have to pull data from multiple systems, use manual Excel sheets, or even send their schedule to other departments. The result can take a lot of time, create conflict and lose much of the commercial value that was planned into the schedule. When a crisis happens, there usually is little time for this.
Zulu has integrated this data into our scheduling module:
- Cancellation decisions can be based on data using decision support tools
- to eliminate the scramble with other systems or manual analysis steps
- to automate solution development and compare scenario options
- Potential up-gauge/down-gauge opportunities can be optimized
- using booking data directly in the editing view or in analytic reports
- by running fleet optimization tools on the whole schedule
- Maintenance opportunities can be designed into the schedule early
- where data and rules are visible for quick decisions or for use within intelligent tools (solvers/optimizers) for more sophisticated solutions.
- The intelligent rotation optimizer assures all rules and constraints are met
- Multiple scenarios can be created quickly and compared in Zulu’s analytics module.
- Any violations of rules or tradeoffs of key metrics are flagged for the user to review and make choices using their experience.
- Updating the organization on the effects of the changes can be “real-time”
- Zulu’s analytics tools can compare multiple scenarios in standard reports or by creating user-defined custom analytics in dashboards