SE210Caravelle From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 258 posts, RR: 1 Posted (2 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days ago) and read 3236 times:
I've found bits and pieces on this around the web and on A.net, but I was wondering if someone could provide an explanation as to how aircraft are scheduled?
In today's day and age, is the process done via computer or does someone go through each flight by hand to figure out what aircraft needs to be where and when? With a route network as vast as UA's or DL's, this seems an impossibly complex task. Is aircraft scheduling generally done monthly, seasonly or on the fly? Is it one person's job or are many people involved in the process?
apodino From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 4448 posts, RR: 5
Reply 1, posted (2 years 10 months 2 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 3213 times:
At my carrier...which is a regional...we start the process three days out. A computer will automatically build the airplane schedule with assigned flights for the third day after the current day. MX planning at the same time will be looking at MX requirements for the fleet and will create work packages and assign them to various MX bases depending on the needs of the airplane and the capability of the MX base. A dispatch coordinator will come in and adjust the computer routings for the third day to ensure that each airplane gets into its MX base when its scheduled to.
In a real time environment...you deal with things like unscheduled mx, weather, MEL limits, etc...and the dispatch coordinators will reassign and reroute airplanes to ensure the smooth running of the operation. It is always a dynamic process, and getting an AC change one hour before departure is not uncommon.
SE210Caravelle From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 258 posts, RR: 1
Reply 3, posted (2 years 10 months 2 weeks 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 3165 times:
Thank you! Aircraft scheduling has always befuddled me and those replies were very informative.
Another Q you might be able to help me out with:
When airlines are designing their schedules do they attempt to minimize ahead of time the # of a/c flying a given route or do they just leave it to the computer to do that after the fact? Or a little of both? For example, let's say UA flies ORD-DCA-ORD 10 times a day. Will they 1) design that schedule with the hope of having the same reg make as many of those segments as possible or will they 2) just have the computer figure out AC scheduling and design the schedule with the most convenient times for passengers?
I'd imagine the answer to this question also depends on how long the route is.
tdscanuck From Canada, joined Jan 2006, 12710 posts, RR: 80
Reply 5, posted (2 years 10 months 2 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 2964 times:
Quoting SE210Caravelle (Reply 3): For example, let's say UA flies ORD-DCA-ORD 10 times a day. Will they 1) design that schedule with the hope of having the same reg make as many of those segments as possible or will they 2) just have the computer figure out AC scheduling and design the schedule with the most convenient times for passengers?
There's no real advantage (and some disadvantages) to 1). However, scheduling is rarely totally computer driven because there are a ton of non-analytic considerations. It's a lot simpler to define the schedule, have the computer map the aircraft into the schedule, then tweak as necessary to improve utilization. Because one aircraft typically circulates throughout the network, it's not normal to map the scheduling to the utilization of any one aircraft but to the network as a whole.