Sponsor Message:
Aviation Technical / Operations Forum
My Starred Topics | Profile | New Topic | Forum Index | Help | Search 
How Do Airlines Assign A Aircraft To Each Route?  
User currently offlineemirates202 From United States of America, joined Nov 2011, 237 posts, RR: 0
Posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 9633 times:

What I mean is, how do airlines assign which jet- by tail number, is going on each route. An example is in GRU. Delta has 3 flights a day to São Paulo. On the way back, does the same one that came from JFK go back, or does it go to ATL? When i was flying gru-jfk 2 days ago, we were at remote stand, so how do the ground crew deckde/know, which aorcraft is going to which dest? Also, howdo they assign them in the hub, like at JFK/ATL, which one is going where?

Thanks for any input!


Fly Emirates, Hello Tomorrow
11 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlinetdscanuck From Canada, joined Jan 2006, 12710 posts, RR: 78
Reply 1, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 9617 times:

Quoting emirates202 (Thread starter):
What I mean is, how do airlines assign which jet- by tail number, is going on each route.

It's mostly done by complex computer programs with some human oversight; given the availability of aircraft (when they're due for maintenance, etc.) and the route structure, the computers can churn out a solution that fits (the right type of aircraft is on the right route at the right time). There will always be some aircraft in maintenance, a few in reserve, and most active in the route. If things go wrong (something drops out of ETOPS capability, or goes tech, or there's a cancellation, etc.) then people have to get involved to swap things around from the baseline to find a workable solution. There search space of possible allocations is far larger than most computers can handle, and there's no need to...you just need a solution that works.

At at least one airline I worked with, we could map tail number to flight number at least 3 or 4 days out, so maintenance always knew what was heading where. Last minute changes, naturally, are a constant possibility.


User currently offlineemirates202 From United States of America, joined Nov 2011, 237 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 2 days ago) and read 9611 times:

Quoting tdscanuck (Reply 1):

Thanks for the quick reply, but how do ground crew in GRU know which is going where? Do they get a sheet telling them?

Fly Emirates, Hello Tomorrow
User currently offlinefr8mech From United States of America, joined Sep 2005, 6711 posts, RR: 16
Reply 3, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 9574 times:

Quoting emirates202 (Reply 2):
Thanks for the quick reply, but how do ground crew in GRU know which is going where? Do they get a sheet telling them?

As was stated, tail numbers can be projected, accurately, 2 or 3 days in advance. When you have a change in the tail number because of delays, mechanical or some new maintenance constraint, the affected stations are informed via whatever tool is used to communicate aircraft movements.

When seconds count...the police are minutes away.
User currently offlineFabo From Slovakia, joined Aug 2005, 1245 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 9402 times:

emirates202: The aircraft are usually on normal rotation that is kind of "a given" - for ex. if the schedule is built around one tail going jfk-gru-atl, and the other atl-gru-jfk, crew just take note of which arrival went where on the field. Also, most stations I know of, there is one team (or one "team leader") working one rotation, and he oversees both arrival and departure.

If things were to change for OP reasons, handling gets a message from the airline, and they can react accordingly.

regarding stands, airport/airline (terminal operator) assigns stands before arrival based on several factors such as availability, expected ground time, delays in operation (if you have two consecutive flights on one gate, and the first one is delayed, you have to decide what to do) etc. and when decision is made, ground crews are informed.

The light at the end of tunnel turn out to be a lighted sing saying NO EXIT
User currently offlinesimairlinenet From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 1046 posts, RR: 2
Reply 5, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 9327 times:

In addition, there may be secondary factors like fuel burn that would encourage using a particular aircraft on one flight vs. another. If one aircraft has an issue that adversely affects fuel burn, it makes sense to put it on the shortest flights.

User currently offlinee38 From United States of America, joined May 2008, 457 posts, RR: 2
Reply 6, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 9179 times:

Quoting emirates202 (Reply 2), "how do ground crew in GRU know which is going where? Do they get a sheet telling them?"

emirates202, are you serious? Do you think the ground crewmembers at Sao Paulo (in your example) just wander out on the ramp, flip a coin to decide what destination to send each aircraft, then stand around and wait to see what happens?

The scheduling and routing of aircraft is a fairly complex process. It normally begins with Network which decides the optimum capacity and capability of each type of aircraft to serve various routes and can change depending on day of week, season, special events in destination cities, etc. That information is then forwarded to crew scheduling and Maintenance Control.

Maintenance Control will assign a particular aircraft to a specific route several days in advance and it is predicated on forecast maintenance requirements of the aircraft (i.e., will the aircraft be in a maintenance station when a specific check is required). Occasionally it is also based on aircraft configuration (i.e., at Delta, some of the Airbus A-319/A-320 are configured for overwater operations, while others are not). At some airlines, Southwest (I think), Maintenance and Crew Scheduling coordinate as well to try to schedule the aircraft and crew on the same routing to minimize the number of times crews change aircraft during the course of a day.

With regard to your original question, "does the same one that came from JFK go back?" No, not necessarily.

Once the particular aircraft is assigned to a route, this information is forwarded to the Dispatcher, who develops the entire flight package for the flight. The Dispatcher then sends this information to the Station Manager at the appropriate airport who in turn provides the information to the Lead Ramp Agent, or Team Leader. At some operations, this is called a "Frag," abbreviation for "Fragment" of the entire flight dispatch package.

To answer your question,when the ground crews at various airports (Sao Paulo, in your experience) show up for work, the Ramp Agent--or Team Leader--knows exactly which tail number is going to which destination, whether or not an alternate airport is required, the required fuel load, expected number of passengers (including any non-revenue passengers), catering requirements, sometimes the name and number of flight crewmembers, and occasionally the routing of the flight to the destination as well as the flight time. Once an aircraft (ship number) has been assigned to a particular flight on a specified day, it cannot be changed without specific approval from Maintenance Control and Flight Dispatch (i.e.,neither the ground crew nor the flight crew can just say, "Hey, let's send this one to New York and this one to Atlanta today).

This process does not happen by accident--it is a comprehensive, pre-coordinated, well developed system that has been perfected over years of operation.


User currently offlineemirates202 From United States of America, joined Nov 2011, 237 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 9167 times:

Quoting e38 (Reply 6):

I do appreciate the detailed response, but that first paragraph was hilarious. It made me laugh so much, and made my day, so thanks for that. lol

Fly Emirates, Hello Tomorrow
User currently offlineplanesailing From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2005, 819 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (4 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 8822 times:

Quoting emirates202 (Reply 2):
Thanks for the quick reply, but how do ground crew in GRU know which is going where? Do they get a sheet telling them?

The ship for the next days flight is checked in Deltamatic and noted down.

When the shift comes in for the day of the flight, the ship is double checked to make sure no aircraft change has occured and then when check-in begins the ship is assigned to the flight, this attaches the aircrafts seat map to check in.

A daily log which goes to all business partners, catering, ground handlers, security, load control is drawn up and a briefing undertaken.

If it a straight forward turn, the aircraft doing the inbound will do the outbound. A member of the turnaround will be with the aircraft from chocks on to chocks off.

User currently offlineFlyboyOz From Australia, joined Nov 2000, 2041 posts, RR: 21
Reply 9, posted (4 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 8785 times:

It's not that easy to tell. Sometimes they always change the aircraft in the last mintues if the other aircraft was delayed or had a techinical issues or changes gates.

The Spirit of AustraliAN - Longreach
User currently offlineStoney From Switzerland, joined Jan 2005, 199 posts, RR: 3
Reply 10, posted (4 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 8776 times:

If you're interrested in network planning yesterdays LX Blog might be a nice read. Part 2 should follow sometime soon...

BAZL - Bundesamt gegen Zivilluftfahrt - royally screwing around with swiss aviation
User currently offlineapodino From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 4500 posts, RR: 5
Reply 11, posted (4 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 8721 times:

At the regional level (or at least one that I know of) it works like this:

All of the airplanes have to be in mx bases every three days for an Interim service check, and every six days for a scheduled service check. Where this is accomplished for each airplane is determined by a MX planner that takes into account work needed on the airplane, availability of parts, capability of mx stations, and manpower. Once the planners determine where each AC needs to be, a dispatch coordinator will use software to build the routings for each AC three days out. Because the software cannot automatically route ac by destination, after the routings are built, the coordinators will manually reroute some airplanes in order to ensure that each plane ends up in the proper maintenance base.

Early on the day of flying, a lot of routings will be cleaned up to allow crews to keep their airplanes to the maximum extent possible. On the day of flying though, many things happen that will affect a routing. The most obvious one being unscheduled maintenance. When this happens, the airplanes need to be swapped around to optimize the entire operation. In some cases, there are MEL items that will limit where an airplane can be routed to (e.g, a plane with an meled Anti Skid needs to be routed somewhere with a long runway, which means no LGA or DCA). These things are always handled day of, meaning that one flight could have had as many as five different aircraft assigned to it during the course of the day. It's an art and not an exact science, which is why it is handled more by humans than automation.

Top Of Page
Forum Index

Reply To This Topic How Do Airlines Assign A Aircraft To Each Route?
No username? Sign up now!

Forgot Password? Be reminded.
Remember me on this computer (uses cookies)
  • Tech/Ops related posts only!
  • Not Tech/Ops related? Use the other forums
  • No adverts of any kind. This includes web pages.
  • No hostile language or criticizing of others.
  • Do not post copyright protected material.
  • Use relevant and describing topics.
  • Check if your post already been discussed.
  • Check your spelling!
Add Images Add SmiliesPosting Help

Please check your spelling (press "Check Spelling" above)

Similar topics:More similar topics...
Do Airlines "pressure" Crew To Use Less Fuel? posted Mon Mar 21 2011 08:53:00 by readytotaxi
How Do Single Pilots Go To The Toilet? posted Sun Feb 27 2011 02:27:41 by Dainan
How Do Airlines Prepare For A New Airplane? posted Thu Feb 3 2011 15:14:32 by c5load
How Do Airlines Repaint A/C? posted Fri Jan 7 2011 15:57:05 by Goblin211
How Do Airlines Choose Their Routes? posted Sun Dec 19 2010 18:45:02 by AirCanadaA330
How Do Airlines Assist Traumatized Pax/Crew? posted Fri Sep 17 2010 02:07:44 by LH470
How Do Airlines Staff Outstation Ground Ops? posted Sun Feb 7 2010 16:39:15 by LHCVG
How Do Airlines Paint Rented Planes? posted Wed Jan 9 2008 17:19:50 by NWA320
How Do You Find Aircraft For Acmi Or Charter? posted Sun Aug 19 2007 18:49:28 by A380US
Airlines Swapping Passengers To Each Other posted Fri Oct 28 2005 21:49:43 by Julesmusician

Sponsor Message:
Printer friendly format