Topic Author
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Joined: Thu Sep 30, 2004 11:09 am

Aircraft Utilisation V Scheduling/Connections

Fri Apr 15, 2005 12:02 pm

I've noticed that many Asian carriers operating to Australia have over the years focussed more on utilisation rather than connectivity or scheduling preferences.

Its my understanding that the preference for most asian pax is for overnight flights in both directions, hence eliminating the need for an extra night's accommodation.

CI in the past use to arrive to SYD in the morning, go across to AKL, then have a late night departure ex-SYD to TPE.

KE from June will change is schedule to SYD for an immediate turnaround, rather than a 12 hr layover 730 to 1930.

All chinese carriers to Australia have minimum ground time (MU has 1 hour turns in MEL!), as do other North Asian carriers.

TG, SQ and MH however seem to prefer connectivity.

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Joined: Fri Sep 22, 2000 1:09 am

RE: Aircraft Utilisation V Scheduling/Connections

Fri Apr 15, 2005 1:04 pm

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.
Topic Author
Posts: 2641
Joined: Thu Sep 30, 2004 11:09 am

RE: Aircraft Utilisation V Scheduling/Connections

Fri Apr 15, 2005 1:48 pm

Interesting comments HB....

In our part of the world, there seems to be a general view that EK's Tasman services are unprofitable....

That being said, EK use to have a B773 on the ground from 0100 until 1900 on a daily basis, and there A345 from 0600 until 2100.

Even if Tasman services breakeven on the pax side, and there is contribution from cargo, why not operate I suppose.

Everyone is shocked about the A380 going trans-tasman in late 2006... does EK have an option??
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Joined: Fri Sep 22, 2000 1:09 am

RE: Aircraft Utilisation V Scheduling/Connections

Fri Apr 15, 2005 8:50 pm

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.

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