Every airline needs a schedule. In fact, a well-developed flight schedule is key to almost everything an airline does – the schedule is critical for ticket sales, crew member assignments, aircraft maintenance, airport coordination, and connections to partner airlines.
There are four key areas for effective schedule development
Long Term Planning
An airline’s long-term plan includes many decisions which lay the foundation for the entire company structure:
- Determination of business model
- Location of key facilities such as focus cities, maintenance facilities, and crew bases
- Fleet determination, including key considerations of economic and performance profiles
Embark can help you build a successful long term plan, or merely adjust your current long-term plan. The airline industry is constantly evolving and Embark has helped airline partners take advantage of new market opportunities and fine-tune existing plans to respond to the changing environment.
Route and Frequency Development
Your long-term plan is complete – you’ve decided on a business model and know where your focus cities, crew bases, and completed your network planning forecasts. It is now time to decide which routes to fly. Embark helps airline partners analyze and implement the right routes and level of frequency:
- Route forecasting – which routes fit the business model? Uncontested and developmental? Highly competitive?
- What type of markets is your airline catering too? High-frequency business traveler pattern or low-frequency leisure pattern?
- How much frequency can the demand support? Daily, weekdays, weekends, or only specific days of week
- Are their operational constraints?
- What kind of incentives does the airport offer in terms of marketing support or cost mitigation?
Schedule Development and Design
With a detailed frequency plan, a schedule must be developed. The schedule is where the plan meets reality, and therefore has to begin to accommodate real-world constraints. The final schedule is always the best compromise between maximizing elements that drive customer demand versus minimizing costs and constraints defined by the schedule.
Scheduling constraints can make creating the optimum schedule challenging
Once the schedule is defined and approved by operations teams, it will drive many of the airlines’ day-to-day activities. The schedule must be published by the airline to constituencies on a regular, coordinated, and defined basis. The methods of communication can vary depending on the airline’s capability.
Schedule communication is then distributed in several forms including files and messages transmitted from scheduling systems, spreadsheets and databases, and in some cases, manual schedule entry is required with some airlines.