AR385
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Fleet Commonality. Where Are The Savings?

Mon Feb 22, 2010 9:03 am

I have read that fleet commonality is a big issue in an arline´s bottom line. In the interest of brevity I´d like to focus my questions on the Airbii.

The A320/318/319/321. Not to mention the A330/A340 fleet commonality. Please forgive my ignorance, I am not an expert, just your average airliner fan, but I have some questions:

1) How do fleet commonality actually save an airline bucks? Aside from the obvious, do pilots actually get off the A320 one leg to pick up an A330 the next day? does that work for all airlines?

2) Using MX as an illustrative example only. I have read that their ops are so successful because they operate an all A318/319/320/330 fleet. I´ve been told that depending on demand they can put an A319 on an otherwise A320 route or if it´s a lazy day even an A318. How long before their ops department has to decide which aircraft will fly the route? The day before? Who makes the decision and which tools are used?

[Edited 2010-02-22 01:28:53]
 
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afterburner
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RE: Fleet Commonality. Where Are The Savings?

Mon Feb 22, 2010 9:18 am

Quoting AR385 (Thread starter):
do pilots actually get off the A320 one leg to pick up an A330 the next day?

A320 and A330 don't have the same type rating. However some pilots may have both ratings.
 
mandala499
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RE: Fleet Commonality. Where Are The Savings?

Mon Feb 22, 2010 9:56 am

Quoting AR385 (Thread starter):
1) How do fleet commonality actually save an airline bucks? Aside from the obvious, do pilots actually get off the A320 one leg to pick up an A330 the next day? does that work for all airlines?

No... pilot union seniority etc etc is an obstacle... *grin*
Plus, scheduling must take consideration the crew's sleeping patterns when mixing long and short haul, especially jumping types back and forth.

Not all 32x/330/340 operators apply "mixed fleet flying" policy (ie: common pilot pool for 32x and the 330/340).
Where the savings are on that in terms of crewing is in the time saved obtaining the next rating...

Quoting AR385 (Thread starter):
2) Using MX as an illustrative example only. I have read that their ops are so successful because they operate an all A318/319/320/330 fleet. I´ve been told that depending on demand they can put an A319 on an otherwise A320 route or if it´s a lazy day even an A318. How long before their ops department has to decide which aircraft will fly the route? The day before? Who makes the decision and which tools are used?

OK... 318/319/320/321 is the same as an airline operating 733/4/5 and/or 736/7/8/9... that's nothing new. The variant commonality benefits has been there for many years.

As to the switch of type/variant, it depends on the policy of the company. Some I know can have a 3 day cut-off period (732/3/4), some a 7day (319/320) some a 30 day (but that's 320/733 switch)... it depends on the company. What I mean cut-off in this case is the change request issued by the commercial department to the ops department.

The problem is not just the number of passengers... the cockpit crew numbers are the same so that doesn't matter... but the cabin crew complement can change, and that creates a scheduling nightmare... And for containerized belly on the 320, or operators who have both containerized and non-containerized 32X ops, how many containers are where also need to be monitored.

So who makes the decision? Some companies allow commercial dept. to make the decision (with nightmarish results for the ops guys), many allow the commercial dept. to instruct/request the ops dept before the cut-off... some companies only allow the commercial dept. to request.

Tools? Commercially, it's the yield management and load prediction tools... again, some companies allow the ops department to make a judgement call on the data, leaving the commercial departments to just sell...

Mandala499
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EMBQA
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RE: Fleet Commonality. Where Are The Savings?

Mon Feb 22, 2010 4:53 pm

Training... and parts...
"It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog"
 
474218
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RE: Fleet Commonality. Where Are The Savings?

Mon Feb 22, 2010 5:48 pm

By using the same "rotables and consumables". So you have to carry less inventory, which results in a lower overhead, ie more profit.
 
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glen
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RE: Fleet Commonality. Where Are The Savings?

Mon Feb 22, 2010 6:31 pm

Quoting afterburner (Reply 1):
A320 and A330 don't have the same type rating. However some pilots may have both ratings.

At Swiss Int'l Airlines for example are three different groups of pilots. The youngest F/O's and Captains have a rating for the A320-family. Then there is a group of pilots rated on A319/20/21 and the A330. Then the F/O's and Captains with the highest seniority fly the A330 and A340.

Quoting mandala499 (Reply 2):
No... pilot union seniority etc etc is an obstacle... *grin*

So for the second group mentioned above it is not uncommon to fly one ore two days on the narrow bodies and then (after sufficient rest of course) the A330 on the next day for a longhaul trip. The maximum duty period for such a combined duty is 6 days, and it's not possible to have the shorthaul flights directly (without enough free-days) after a longhaul trip.

Quoting AR385 (Thread starter):
How do fleet commonality actually save an airline bucks?

With duties mentioned above, the crews can operate much more efficient.
The transition course for a new type rating is much shorter from one Airbus type to another (about ten days) compared to a trainsition course for a complete new type. So there is also quite a potential in savings there.

[Edited 2010-02-22 10:40:05]
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roseflyer
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RE: Fleet Commonality. Where Are The Savings?

Tue Feb 23, 2010 3:12 pm

I think you are referring to two types of commonality. A319/20/21 is different than A330 to A320. If you are operating different derivatives, the maintenance requirements area all exactly the same. The training is the same and the management of the fleet is the same. Many airlines have different configurations of the same plane such as A320 ETOPs and non ETOPS. From a scheduling and operational standpoint, there is as much difference in those as A319 to A320.

Operating different models has some savings, but less than you would think. Part commonality is there, but on the majority of the items, they are unique to each model. You do get some synergy between 767s and 747s since they can operate the same engine, so there is a big money saver from a maintenance perspective. However a 777 and 747 share little in common and require different maintenance programs.
If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
 
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HAWK21M
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RE: Fleet Commonality. Where Are The Savings?

Tue Feb 23, 2010 4:12 pm

Common Pilots.
Common Mechanics/Engineers.
Common Spares.Reduced stores inventory.
regds
MEL.
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