Topic Author
Posts: 264
Joined: Sun Nov 11, 2001 12:37 am

Commonality And Operating Costs

Sun Jan 26, 2003 4:57 am

I hear a lot about the advantages of commonality and the savings
it entails but it seems that some important airlines do not care
much about this concept.
I would like to know if here in the forum there are some
insights into the reasons for this.
I'll Ilustrate with an example:
When Airbus launched the 330/340 family, it told its potential
custommers that each variant was complementary and tailored for
a specific mission. This way the custommer would buy a mix of
330/340 and use the 330 in routes 2000 nm to 5000 nm long
and the 340 for routes longer than 5000 nm. The custommer
would operate the 2 variants with the operating cost of
a single type due to airframe and avionics commonality.
Well a lot of companies went for that complementary aproach,
but since the 777 was launched, more and more decite to order
a mix of 330/777 for their wide-body fleet. They complement
each other, alright, but there is no commonality whatsoever.
So in fact companies seem to analyse the running costs of their
planes based on their individual performance but and seem not to
care a lot about the savings that commonality could bring.
So what I'd like to know is if, in the opinion of this board's members,
this "commonality" concept is more of a marketing device than a real
operational advantge. What do you think?
BWIA 772
Posts: 1613
Joined: Sun May 12, 2002 2:33 am

RE: Commonality And Operating Costs

Sun Jan 26, 2003 3:23 pm

Commonality is an added bounus if one manufacture can meet your requirements from narrow bodies to wide bodies. Air Jamaica has an all Airbus fleet which is great them due to the commonality on the aircraft alone. This is made better by the fact the A343 and the 320/321 engines are CFM. BWIA which has a narrow body fleet of just 738 and its new widebody 343 enjoy the same engine commanality which will reduce maintenance cost to some extent.

To me the answer to you question is that it is an operational advantage that by its share practicality and economic advantages is the perfect marketing device. However airliners that need widebodies have different requirements for them. That is why you will find some airline using both the 330 and 777 or 340 and 330 or a combination of all 3.

An airline may need a widebody with relativley long range but not with the capacity to seat 350- 400 which is where the 340 will suit. An airline may need a 250-300 seat aircarft for routes up to 5000nm with good cargo capcity the 330. An airline might need a long range aircraft with 400 people a 777. So an airline may use any combination of these aircrafts to serve as you long haul fleet. The introdcution the 346, 345 773ER will level playing feel in my opinion...

Hope that it sheds some light for you....

Eagles Soar!
Posts: 14133
Joined: Fri Nov 08, 2002 10:25 am

RE: Commonality And Operating Costs

Sun Jan 26, 2003 5:02 pm

Also, the training of employees is an important role.

Austrian Airlines, for example, employes a Mixed Fleet Flying system of training their employees.

Their A330/A340 pilots switch between aircraft frequently, and most also fly a few rotations on an A320 regularly as well. It takes very little time to convert from the various aircraft types.

Same with the 757 and 767 - many pilots fly both during the course of their careers, with little or no extra expense in training.