The construction of timetables for an airline is composed of aircraft and crew. Crew cost is the biggest controllable expenditure for an airline and effective crew assignment is a very important aspect of planning (Gopalakrishnan & Johnson, 2005). Wensveen (2016) defines: “airline scheduling as the art of designing systemwide [sic] flight patterns that provide optimum public service, in both quantity and quality, consistent with the financial health of the carrier” (p. 388). An airline’s decision to offer certain flights is dependent on market demand forecasts, available aircraft operating characteristics, available work force, regulations, and the behavior of competing airlines (Bazargan, 2010, p. 31).
The problem is that the airline scheduling process in its entirety is very complex. Flight scheduling is the starting point for all other airline planning and operations (Bazargan, 2010, p. 31). Airlines are faced with a number of issues that they have no control over (e.g., illness, weather, volcanoes, earthquakes, etc.). Adding to the complexity are human factors, cultural issues, political issues, and more. Vast numbers of rules and regulations associated with airports, aircraft, and flight crews combined with the global expanse of air traffic networks has a direct impact on the scheduling process.
Significance of the Problem
When a problem arises that has an impact on the schedule that impact can ripple throughout the airline’s network (Hamilton & Nilsson, 2010a). In some cases, a delay at a hub airport can have an impact on travelers around the globe. In 2006, the North American airline industry experienced a total of 116.5 million minutes of delay, totaling a $7.7 billion increase in operating costs. Passengers are typically unsympathetic to delays, as far as a passenger is concerned it is the airline’s fault. With advancements in internet ticketing, travelers readily avoid an airline with poor on-time performance.
Development of Alternative Actions
Alternative Action 1
Airline and railway modes of transportation should form an intermodal alliance (Iatrou & Oretti, 2007, p. 88). This would enable travelers an option to continue with their travel plans.
Advantages. Access to airports through dedicated public transport could reduce problems associated with road traffic delays around airports. Iatrou and Oretti (2007) suggest an intermodal alliance near airports for quicker access to and from the airport (p. 89).
Disadvantages. The absence of interconnectivity, where air and rail industries have different infrastructures without common rules and facilities (Iatrou & Oretti, 2007, p. 89). High-speed rail links to airports are not profitable in the short-term.
Alternative Action 2
Extend flight schedules by extra minutes to boost on-time performance (McCartney, 2012).
Advantages. Passengers would spend less time on aircraft (McCartney, 2012). Airlines will have fewer planes sitting at terminal gates awaiting connecting passengers.
Disadvantages. An aircraft departing late for a flight will run late for the rest of its flight pattern for that day, and delays can grow exponentially (McCartney, 2012). A flight off the gate late may find a long line of planes waiting to take off or may find that the gate is no longer available at its destination resulting in an extended wait period (McCartney, 2012). The alternative actions may be presented in table form (see Table 1).
Sequential airline schedule planning of aircraft routing and flight crew-pairing decisions are made simultaneously to minimize flight crew and aircraft operating costs (Hamilton & Nilsson, 2010b). The advantage would be quicker turnaround time increasing aircraft utilization. The disadvantage would be flight crews and passengers with less time to connect between their flight legs (Wensveen, 2016). 3
Expectations of the Case Analysis Assignment
The introduction should set the stage, establish the environment, set out the nature of the problem. You should consider that you are establishing the context within which your problem exists. You must have in-text citation to substantiate your introduction.
The case analysis assignment requires you to identify and isolate just one problem. This problem should be well developed, where did it come from, why is it able to exist? What conditions and/or factors caused it or contributed to it? Your problem statement is the common thread that you weave throughout your analysis, everything must be connected to your problem. You must have in-text citation to substantiate your problem statement.
The significance of the problem is the result of the problem not being solved. You need to indicate what will happen if your problem is not addressed or fixed. This is your opportunity to tell management they need to do dedicate appropriate resources to fix the problem. You need in-text citation to substantiate the significance of your problem.
Alternative actions are corrective actions based upon the textbook and/or magazine/journal article and/or other sources you are using. You need two alternative actions, each much have reason or rationale, and two advantages and two disadvantages. Here again in-text citation must be used to substantiate your alternative courses of action.
The recommendation must be separate and distinctly different than either alternative action. You should consider what you would do to correct the problem if you had unlimited resources. The recommendation must have reason or rationale, one advantage and one disadvantage. And, in-text citation must be used to substantiate your recommendation.
A reference list (in accordance with the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association) must be compiled based solely upon the sources you used to substantiate your analyses.