HB-IWC From Greece, joined Sep 2000, 4450 posts, RR: 74 Reply 1, posted (8 years 8 months 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 1206 times:
In these days of cost cutting, airlines can simply not afford to have a valuable resource like a widebody airframe sitting around idle for hours in a row, so there is a trend of reducing turn arounds to the absolute minimum, even if that leads to commercially less interesting schedules. The benefits of increased utilization very often outstrip the lost revenue because of the perceived uncommercial scheduling.
The problem of long turn around times very often occurs with North-South flights, like Asia-Australia, but also Europe-South Africa and North America-South America, because of passengers' perceived preference of overnight flights. As a result aircraft can be seen sitting idle for the better part of a day in airports like JNB, EZE, GRU and the like.
While overnight flights are certainly nicer for passengers (although this is a rather subjective perception - nobody is ever complaining about long daylight Eeast-West sectors like Europe-California or Japan-Europe), the potential revenue loss and extra costs related to an aircraft sitting in a parking bay for 12 hours are immense, and very often outweigh the loss of revenue that would be incurred as a result of scheduling a daylight operation on one of the sectors involved.
As a result of this increased awareness, more and more airlines are prefering the increased utilization over commercially interesting schedule patterns. KLM is now operating daylight flights on all AMS-South Africa and AMS-Brasil sectors, and SAA just announced daylight operations for the CPT-FRA sector.
It is clear that in years to come, we will see an even greater focus on increased productivity of available resources, and that airlines will keep focusing on further optimizing aircraft utilization by adjusting scheduling. I bet we will eventually see mostly daylight sectors between Brasil/Argentina and the US and on Europe-South Afirca flights.
HB-IWC From Greece, joined Sep 2000, 4450 posts, RR: 74 Reply 3, posted (8 years 8 months 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 1153 times:
Apart from the purely economic considerations related to aircraft utilizations, the airlines of course have to make sure that their longhaul flights are scheduled opportunely for maximum connectivity at the home base. The greater the number of banks in the hub, the easier the scheduling task.
For an airline like Emirates, with mainline longhaul operations and a restricted number of aircraft movements at the home base, the number of arrival and departure banks is inevitably limited. As a result, Emirates is forced to schedule most South East Asian and Australia/New Zealand traffic to arrive at the DXB-hub early in the morning, in time to catch the outbound European bank between 7 and 9 am. This is turn results in some undesirable scheduling and longer than necessary ground times at outstations.
Airlines that are larger and coordinate a greater number of aircraft movements are able to design a hub operation with a greater number of connecting banks. If their operation grows large enough, even a depeaked hub is a possibility. Such operational structures allow for increased scheduling flexibility and, as a result, more optimal utilization rates.
An airline like Lufthansa does not need to make sure all of its overnight longhaul traffic arrives at the FRA hub in the 5.30-6.30am window, in time to catch the first outbound wave at 7.30am, because Lufthansa's operation is so large that the airline can accommodate another departure bank just a bit later from 9.30am onwards. This allows the airline increased flexibility in scheduling, and reduced ground time overseas.