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Aircraft maintenance scheduling has always been a crucial aspect in the efficient running of airlines. However, current Information Technology now provides the ability for the Maintenance organization to go beyond the production problem and link itself with flight operations and network planning to help strategize corporate profitability. To support the expanded goal of optimizing revenue at minimum cost without impacting the flight schedule requires a market driven planning solution.
Because this type of planning is a non-linear linear problem, Excel spreadsheets just can’t do the job. But new technologies can facilitate new ways of managerial decision-making. In this case, solving a large-scale optimization problem, - to create unlimited versions of “what-if” scenarios, - working at the speed of thought, - with intense analytic support.
Omega Airline Software has made achieving this goal its mission for the last 25 years. Its Ames suite of Planning & Decision tools has impacted the way planning decisions are made at airlines & operators around the world.
A Large Regional Carrier with Multiple Capacity Contracts with Major Network Carriers
The primary driver for Base Maintenance planning centered on eliminating risk associated with contract guarantees for assured aircraft availability. Complex spreadsheets required regular care and feeding to maintain, but still could not provide a time horizon suitable for managing the risk. Consequently, hangar visit schedules compensated risk by sacrificing excessive yield loss. As the airline grew, the financial burden of excess maintenance cost and out-of-revenue allocation became noticeable and ultimately unacceptable.
When Ames was implemented, the optimization effect immediately identified a near-term reduction in visit activity of over 150 maintenance days at a savings in excess of $2.7M in maintenance cost
When Ames was implemented, the optimization effect immediately identified a near-term reduction in visit activity of over 150 maintenance days at a savings in excess of $2.7M in maintenance cost. At the same time, the airline was able to add the 150 aircraft days into the flight schedule to reduce contract risk as well as generate significant revenue.
Additionally, Ames provided 5-10 year plans with powerful “what-if” decision tools that allowed the airline to fully understand the risk and opportunity considerations. With this insight and the Ames suite of smart tools, the airline then was able to permanently reduce their maintenance allocation.
A Major Network Carrier Faced Significant Decisions Regarding Long-Term Maintenance Capacity and Infrastructure
With the planning tools at hand, the airline realized that any analysis of future conditions would be derived from assumptions embedded in the current schedule and would not present a true assessment of available options. Additionally, the size of the fleet made the construction of multiple scenarios impossible in a reasonable timeframe. They recognized that the need for “what if” scenarios required a sophisticated tool to fully develop strategic solutions.
When Ames was implemented, the operator was surprised to find not only an optimal answer for the original problem, but dramatic evaluation of ancillary issues. The solution to the original problem saved over 100 wide-body maintenance days. But more importantly, Ames’ 10 year planning scenarios allowed the operator to realize major cost savings in hangar and facilities decisions.