Airlines With No Proper Scheduling System Are Melting Down

Updated on :June 23, 2024
By :Lisa Brian

The central element of any airline planning process includes a systematic and structured flight schedule that will help optimize the resources, meet the demands, and satisfy public objectives. To obtain end-to-end efficiency in scheduling, it is necessary to consider multiple factors like the flow of passengers, aircraft availability, crews, accurate information on the aircraft maintenance schedules, ground resources, airport facilities, gate capacity, runway condition, and much more. A closed-form model can be ineffective, considering the complexities involved and the need to integrate with multiple systems. Airline companies that fail to manage flight schedules efficiently are thus rapidly facing meltdowns. Leveraging comprehensive Scheduling Software solutions allow airlines to quickly and easily create and adjust flight schedules, considering all the relevant factors. Such a system facilitates agility and speed.

Furthermore, scheduling tools enable airlines to track and monitor their schedules in real time and respond quickly to changes and disruptions, ensuring better customer service. Thus, flight scheduling systems are essential for airlines to optimize their operations, stay organized, enhance efficiency, reduce costs, boost profits, and provide reliable customer service.

The News:

  • According to BTS (Bureau of Transportation Statistics), in the United States, over 20 percent of flights got delayed in 2022; the most common reason for flight delays was air carrier delays due to circumstances like cleaning the airplane, damage to the plane, waiting for connecting passengers or crew to arrive, fueling, and maintenance, all of which are controllable by the airline companies.
  • As per a recent KPMG report, according to John Strickland (Aviation Industry Analyst), network and route planners said they had to work from six in the morning until midnight during the Covid-19 period to reconfigure umpteen versions of the flight plans manually. The same report suggests that airlines can maximize aircraft utilization using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) powered tools to automate and optimize their schedules.
  • According to the latest US Department of Transportation Air Travel Consumer Report (ATCR) on airline operational data, though air travel service complaints have recently drastically reduced, these are still 380% above pre-pandemic levels.
  • 50% of flights are scheduled six months before departure, meaning half of the scheduled flights will never take off, particularly during the Covid pandemic when sudden travel restrictions are imposed.
  • Due to the changing travel patterns brought about by the pandemic, many top US airlines readjusted their decades-old approach to flight scheduling.
  • The number of flights performed globally by the airline industry dropped to 33.8 million in 2022.
  • Airlines with no proper scheduling system are melting down.
  • Southwest Airlines admitted that their recent operational meltdown on the busy Christmas holiday weekend in December 2022 was due to a powerful winter storm and their antiquated scheduling system; the meltdown that led to 16,700 flight cancellations may cost the airline company more than USD 800 million.
  • Recently, on Jan 11, 2023, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) briefly halted all domestic flight departures across the US Wednesday morning, later confirming that a corrupted file had led to the system outage; this resulted in the grounding of flights by all major US carriers, including United Airlines, Southwest, Delta, and American Airlines, delaying over 4,000 flights, and cancelation of more than 600, causing severe chaos nationwide.
  • According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), airlines managed to reduce their losses significantly in 2022 and are now predicted to return to profitability in 2023.
  • The flight management system market is estimated to reach USD 4.26 billion by the end of 2026 and USD 25.4 billion by 2028.

How did we get here?

#1. Flight Scheduling Challenges That Aviation Businesses Face

Airline meltdowns are due to numerous factors. Here are the most common challenges that airline companies typically encounter in the absence of a reliable flight scheduling system.

Managing Demand

For the best performance, airlines must optimize the demand for their flights with their aircraft's capacity, the crew's availability, and many other resources.

Coordinating With Stakeholders

Airlines must coordinate their schedules with airports, ground-handling companies, and other stakeholders to ensure smooth operations.

Managing Disruptions

Airlines must be able to quickly adapt to disruptions such as delays, cancellations, and other unforeseen events while minimizing the impact of such events on their schedules and passengers.

Regulations and Compliance

Airlines must comply with numerous rules, regulations, and statutory norms related to safety, security, and the environment, making scheduling more complex.

Ensuring Profitability

Increasing competition in the aviation industry necessitates offering customers the best pricing and facilities, which may shrink profits. Airlines must thus optimize their schedules to maximize profitability while meeting their customers' needs.

Meeting Customer Expectations

Flight scheduling errors and delays commonly frustrate customers, leading to a loss of reputation for the company. Airlines must balance passengers' needs with operational requirements while ensuring customer satisfaction.

Managing Change

The market is ever-evolving. Thus, to survive, airlines must constantly adapt to the numerous changes, such as shifts in consumer demands or the introduction of new technologies, while maintaining the integrity of their schedules.

Covid-Imposed Challenges

  • With travel restrictions and concerns about the spread of the virus, many people choose to postpone or cancel their travel plans, resulting in a decrease in flight demand; this repeats during every severe Covid-19 wave.
  • To comply with social distancing measures, many airlines had to reduce the number of passengers they carry on each flight which led to reduced overall capacity and a need to re-adjust schedules accordingly.
  • Some airlines had to ground a significant portion of their fleet due to the reduced demand for travel, which further impacted their ability to operate flights as scheduled.
  • With the reduction in flight slots due to restrictions and sudden changes in demand, it becomes difficult for airlines to secure slots at airports for their flights, which causes delays and schedule changes.
  • Many airports implemented new health and safety measures in response to the pandemic, which affected the efficiency of operations and caused delays.

#2. How Can Flight Scheduling Software Tools Help Airlines Prevent Meltdowns?

Flight scheduling software is a collection of numerous tools designed to help airlines and other aviation companies to plan and optimize their flight schedules. There are multiple types of scheduling software available that airlines can leverage to streamline operations and upsurge profits, including:

  • Reservation Software offers comprehensive reservation management tools, including advanced scheduling, booking management, online reservations, calendar management, mobile access, payment processing, reporting & analytics, reservation channels, and more.
  • Venue Management Software offers numerous tools that enable seamless venue and event management, including attendee management, customer management, event management, reservations management, resource management, and staff management.
  • Meeting Room Booking System is a collection of software tools that help businesses manage various aspects of the meeting room booking process, including meeting room reservation module, booking grids, visitor management module, multi-language support, multi-time zone meeting booking, cancellation management, swap management, reporting, and analytics.
  • Appointment Reminder Software is a unified platform of tools designed to control and manage appointments, including appointment confirmation, appointment reminders, automated scheduling, calendar sync/management, contact database management, mobile compatibility, online booking, online payments, payment reminders, live reports, and more.

Here are the top benefits of using flight scheduling software solutions for enhanced flight operations and management:

Real-Time Tracking

Flight scheduling tools provide real-time tracking and monitoring of flight schedule data on a single platform, including easy access, updates, recording, and sharing of information.

Improved Accuracy

Flight scheduling software can help reduce the risk of errors, such as double booking or over-booking, leading to improved accuracy.

Enhanced Efficiency

Flight scheduling software allows airline companies to quickly and easily create and adjust flight schedules, reducing the time and effort required in manual flight schedule planning and enhancing overall operational efficiency.

Enhanced Communication and Collaboration

Flight scheduling systems provide a unified platform, enabling various people to share data, information, and updates quickly and without hassles. Thus, it improves communication between teams and departments, such as dispatch and operations. The software includes features that allow multiple users to access and update the flight schedules, enhancing collaboration among various team members, partners, and other stakeholders such as airports and ground-handling companies, enhancing coordination and reducing delays.

Integration With Other Systems

The top flight scheduling solutions allow seamless integration with other systems, such as maintenance and crew management systems, to share data across systems, provide a holistic view of the operations, and streamline overall processes for airline companies.

Conservation of Resources

Flight scheduling systems enable airline companies to save significant human resources, fuel, and other resources.

Demand Forecasting

Scheduling software platforms collect and store extensive flight operational data. The software typically offers analytics tools that utilize this data to predict demand, which helps airline companies to plan the airline schedules better, thus ensuring ample availability of flights during peak demand as well as preventing losses by reducing flights when the demand is less.

Workflow Management and Expense Tracking

Advanced flight scheduling software solutions offer customization options, such as setting up approval workflows or generating custom reports that help businesses manage and track travel expenses.

Cost Reduction

By streamlining the flight scheduling processes, reducing the risk of errors, and conserving numerous resources, flight scheduling software can help businesses remarkably shrink overall operational costs and save money.

Customer Satisfaction

By providing more accurate and reliable flight schedules, flight scheduling software can help improve customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Better Decision-Making

Flight scheduling systems provide airlines with data-driven insights helping them make informed decisions about their schedules and operations.

Reliability

Flight scheduling software solutions can help airlines manage delays and disruptions better, improving reliability and trust among various stakeholders.

Competitive Edge

By using flight scheduling software, airlines can better optimize their schedules and operations, helping them perform better and enabling them a higher edge over the competitors.

#3. Latest Technological Innovations and Trends in Flight Scheduling Systems for Aviation Businesses

Flight scheduling systems are constantly improving by leveraging the most efficient tools and cutting-edge technologies. Here are the most crucial technological innovations, advancements, and trends that aviation businesses must follow while choosing the perfect flight scheduling systems for their needs.

Cloud-Based Solutions

Cloud-based flight scheduling software allows airlines to access their schedules and make changes from any device with an internet connection, making it easier to manage their operations remotely.

Predictive Analytics

Modern flight scheduling software applications leverage predictive analytics to forecast demand and optimize flight schedules, helping airlines to make informed decisions about their operations and perform better.

Mobile Apps

Flight scheduling systems now offer mobile apps that allow airline staff to access schedules and make changes on the go, anytime and from anywhere.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) powered flight scheduling tools help analyze large amounts of data in the least time for making valuable predictions and recommendations. Thus, advanced flight scheduling systems offer AI  capabilities to automate, optimize schedules, and reduce time.

Collaborative Planning

Modern flight scheduling systems allow multiple stakeholders, including pilots and maintenance personnel, to define and input their availability and preferences to automate and create more efficient schedules.

Blockchain

Airline companies are now exploring blockchain technology to improve the security and reliability of flight scheduling systems due to the benefits of a decentralized ledger, transparency, immutability, and much more.

Internet of Things (IoT)

IoT devices, including sensors and smart devices, can track and monitor equipment, crew, and passengers in real-time. Thus, flight scheduling systems are experimenting with IoT technology in numerous ways, including flight re-routing and emergency response:

  • IoT systems can provide real-time information and help automate flight re-routing and re-scheduling during unexpected weather changes and conditions, saving the lives of passengers and crew.
  • In medical emergencies and other such events requiring immediate attention from air traffic control staff, the IoT-enabled flight scheduling systems can provide accurate location information for prompt action and prevention of delays.

What's Next?

Winston Churchill said, “Let our advance worrying become advance thinking and planning.”

This quote holds for airline businesses facing meltdowns and losses due to obsolete manual operations coupled with poor scheduling and planning. Flight scheduling software systems provide crucial tools for airlines to prevent meltdowns and ensure smooth operations. These systems allow airline companies to optimize their schedules, increase efficiency, enhance accuracy, improve communication & coordination among stakeholders, and make informed decisions based on real-time data.

In today’s competitive market, advanced flight scheduling software applications that leverage the latest innovations, technologies, and trends, including AI, ML, IoT, cloud computing, and more, are must-haves for aviation businesses. Adopt these tools to offer the best services to the customers, stay ahead of the curve, and amplify profits.

Lisa Brian
Lisa Brian

Lisa Brian is an Engineering graduate and a content writer with GoodFirms. She has 7+ years of experience in content writing and digital marketing. A tech enthusiast, Lisa loves to write about cutting-edge technologies and emerging trends in the software industry.

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