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Airline Scheduling. Airline Scheduling. Significance of airline scheduling Flight scheduling Aircraft scheduling Crew scheduling Facilities scheduling Coordinating the flight schedule Problems in executing the schedule. Significance of Airline Scheduling.

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Airline Scheduling

  • Significance of airline scheduling

  • Flight scheduling

  • Aircraft scheduling

  • Crew scheduling

  • Facilities scheduling

  • Coordinating the flight schedule

  • Problems in executing the schedule


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Significance of Airline Scheduling

  • Over 2000 highly interconnected flights per day

  • Strategic (marketing) significance: profits

  • Operational challenge: safety & efficiency



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Flight Scheduling

  • Basic elements: airports served, departure times, arrival times

  • Types of route structure: point-to-point, hub-&-spoke

  • Basic resources: aircraft, maintenance, crew, ground facilities

  • Flight schedule planning

  • Making flight schedule available (e.g. CRS)

  • Schedule Planning Division (Marketing Department)


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Types of Route Structure

  • Point-to-point

  • Hub-and-spoke


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Flight Schedule Planning

  • Internal factors

  • External factors


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Internal Factors

  • Aircraft routing and maintenance requirements

  • Crew scheduling and training requirements

  • Ground facilities constraints

  • Marketing factors


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Marketing Factors

  • Marketing analysis

    • Passengers

    • Competition

    • Financial impact

  • Traffic flow

  • Schedule salability

    • Time of day

    • Type of flight: non-stop, direct, connecting

  • Schedule adjustments

    • Time-zones

    • Station personnel

    • Turn-around time

    • Chain reaction effect

  • Load factor leverage

    • Cost is independent of load factor

    • Revenue varies in direct proportion to changes in load factor


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External Factors

  • Airport/runway constraints

  • ATC/airspace constraints

  • Seasonal weather patterns

  • Travel agents

  • Hotel operators

  • Local community



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Aircraft Scheduling

  • Aircraft routing

  • Maintenance scheduling

  • Maintenance Operations Control (Maintenance Department)


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Aircraft Maintenance

Typical Maintenance Schedule for a Jet Aircraft

Check Description Interval Duration

En-route visual inspection each stop 30 min.

Overnight ad hoc repairs 8 hrs up to 8 hrs

A-check primary examination 125 hrs 8 hrs

B-check intermediate inspection 750 hrs overnight

C-check detailed inspection 3,000 hrs 5 days

D-check major overhaul 20,000 hrs 15-30 days



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Netjets 7 on 7 off

  • 8-21 05

  • CMH – EUS 1.1

  • EUS – SUN 2.8

  • SUN- APC 1.4

  • APC – PHX 1.7


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Day two

  • PHX – ASE 1.3

  • ASE – SFO 2.2

  • SFO – TRM 1.2

  • TRM APA 1.7


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Day three

  • APA BFM 2.4

  • BFM – PDK 1.2

  • PDK – CYYZ 1.7

  • CYYZ – EWR 1.6


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Day four

  • EWR – CGF 1.4

  • CGF – ADS 2.3

  • ADS – MMU 3.0

  • MMU PHL .7


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Day five

  • PHL – SOP 1.3

  • SOP – PVD 1.7

  • PVD – SFO 5.3

  • SFO – SJC .7


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Day 6

  • SJC – MEM 3.6

  • Airline home

  • I quit!


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Crew Scheduling

  • Regular and reserve crews

  • Crew flight schedule

  • Crew training schedule

  • Crew Scheduling Division (Flight Operations Department)

  • Flight Attendants (Marketing Department)


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Crew Flight Schedule

  • Line schedule

  • Bidding

  • Pairing


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Duty/Rest Time Regulations

FAR Part 121.481

  • Maximum 8 flight hours between required rest periods

  • Maximum 30 flight hours per week, 100 flight hours per month, 1000 flight hours per year

  • 9-11 hours rest per day (depending on flight duty)

  • Release from all duty 24 hours during each 7-consecutive-day period


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Crew Training Schedule

  • Base training

    • Flight academy

    • Initial, recurrent, transitional

    • Ground school, procedure trainer, flight simulator, aircraft

  • Line training

    • Revenue flights

    • Initial, recurrent, transitional

    • Check pilot on jump-seat



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Facilities Scheduling

  • Types of flight

    • Origin

    • Thru

    • Turn-around

    • Termination

  • Ground facilities

    • Passenger services: ticket counter, gate, baggage claim

    • Ramp services: baggage, food service, water, fuel

  • Ground Services Division (Marketing Department)


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Ramp Services

Chocks in: 11:04

Passengers out: 11:05

Baggage out: 11:08

Food service truck: 11:08

Fuel truck: 11:30

Water truck: 11:45

More baggage out: 11:45

Mail out: 12:00

Baggage in: 12:05

Mail in: 12:15

Copilot walks-around: 12:15

Passengers in: 12:20

Doors locked: 12:48

Chocks out: 12:49

Turn-around: 1 hr 45 min



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Schedule Coordination

  • Flight Schedule

    • Marketing Department

  • Aircraft Routing and Maintenance Schedule

    • Maintenance Department

  • Flight Crew Schedule (pairing and training)

    • Flight Operations Department

  • Cabin Crew Schedule (pairing and training)

    • Marketing Department

  • Passenger Services Schedule (counters, gates, baggage claim)

    • Marketing Department

  • Ramp Services Schedule (gates, baggage, food, water, fuel)

    • Marketing Department



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Problems in the Execution of Schedule

  • Conflicts of interest

  • Schedule disruptions

  • Limited resources

  • Inherent limitations of hub-and-spoke system


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Conflicts of Interest

  • Maintenance/service time versus aircraft utilization

  • Schedule efficiency (maximum resource utilization) versus schedule flexibility (slack use of resources and availability of spare resources)

  • Customer service versus economic/operational considerations

  • Solution:optimal balance (tradeoff) between conflicting factors


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Schedule Disruptions

  • Can cost 2-3% of annual revenues

  • Role of SOC in disruption management & recovery

  • Types of disruption: delay, cancellation, diversion

  • Causes of disruption: weather, airport/airspace congestion, ATC equipment failure, aircraft problem, ground equipment problem

  • Chain reaction/multiplier effects

  • Impact of poor public relations/customer service

  • Solutions: optimal balance between schedule efficiency and schedule flexibility; collaborative decision making (CDM)


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Limited Resources

  • Aircraft limitations

  • Crew limitations

  • Facility limitations

  • Solution: slack use of resources and availability of spare resources


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Inherent Limitations of Hub-and-Spoke System

  • Uneven spoke length

  • Congestion at peak times

  • Idle between peak times

  • Multiplier effects of schedule disruptions


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