Flight Schedule Development and Control 118 Once the flight schedule is finalized, operating departments begin assigning personnel and other physical assets needed to operate the schedule. Staff may need to be hired and trained, or additional airport gates and support equipment obtained. On the other hand, if flight frequency is reduced in some markets or transferred to a regional airline, personnel may be furloughed or transferred to other locations. Required lead times vary greatly. Hiring and training new employees may require six or more months lead time for pilots but only a few weeks for some airport staff. Airport facilities for a new destination may be readily available or difficult to obtain. Many smaller and mid-sized airports often have counter and gate space available and actively seek expanded airline service. At the other extreme are slot controlled airports where access is restricted. Before the flight schedule is ready for operation, two important asset assignment tasks must be completed: a) assignment of specific aircraft (tail numbers) to the flight schedule, and b) assignment of pilots and flights attendants to every scheduled flight. These tasks are completed concurrently between 4 to 6 weeks prior to the actual flight operation. Aircraft Assignment Assignment of individual aircraft to the flight schedule is the less complex of the two tasks. Maintenance requirements are the principal driver of assignments. Aircraft must undergo relatively simple inspections every few days and more complex routine maintenance every few weeks. The time interval for heavy maintenance in which major components are inspected, serviced or replaced varies by airline with most completing the required tasks in phases. The assignment of aircraft to the flight schedule must ensure that aircraft are routed to maintenance facilities when inspections and work are due. Frequently required routine inspections are performed at many stations, usually overnight, whereas a limited number of airline facilities are capable of heavier maintenance. For network carriers, heavy maintenance facilities are often at hubs. Panel A: Single Aircraft Flight Assignment Panel B: Time-Space Diagram for Aircraft Assignment Figure 5.3 Aircraft Assignment
Flight Schedule Development and Control 119 Figure 5.3 shows a typical routing for one aircraft in one day. This aircraft originates in Atlanta and flies the airline’s hub at Denver for a connecting complex. From there, it continues to Seattle. Again the aircraft returns to the Denver hub and then flies to Boston. Finally, the aircraft returns to the hub for a third connecting complex of the day before continuing to San Diego. Panel B displays the aircraft routing in a Station Time-Space Diagram. Local time is shown on the left hand vertical scale. The blue dots at Denver represent complexes. Note that this aircraft transits Denver for 3 of the daily complexes, but misses the 3 rd of 4 daily complexes.
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- Fall '16
- Kelly Lawton
- United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Pan American World Airways, Cab, Douglas DC-3