Despite signs that the worst may be over for the airline industry, providers of maintenance, repair and overhaul services remain under intense pressure to reduce the cost of engine servicing and improve turnaround times.
If ever a carrier needed a tool to help it better manage aircraft in the terminal environment, it is FedEx Express. Beginning at 2:48 a.m. Monday-Friday, it dispatches 8-12
aircraft every 6 min. from Memphis International Airport.
of air traffic to the near-saturation levels that existed prior to 9/11-with virtually no corresponding increase in airport capacity-means that congestion and delays are on the rise again.
Thus it is no surprise that airlines are looking for information technology solutions to manage aircraft better in the airport environment.
A number of IT providers are offering integrated packages to do just that. Sensis Corp. and Preston Aviation Solutions, a Boeing subsidiary, are two major players.
Does radio frequency identification technology meet the 2-10 rule coined by Microsofts Bill Gates, which states that most new innovations are hyped endlessly during the first two years but take a decade to become truly useful? Depends whom you talk to.
Sabre Holdings Corp.'s acquisition three years ago of David R. Bornemann Associates, a privately held developer of Windows-based software solutions for smaller airlines, has proven to be both a savvy business decision and a challenge for the company's airline software products and services division, Sabre Airline Solutions.
Predictive maintenance solutions for aircraft and engines may be as common someday as yield management systems, but today's cost-conscious environment hampers investment in any product that can't offer an immediate payback.
Carriers using the software freely admit the difficulty of quantifying the actual savings in reduced delays or cancellations and improved dispatch reliability. Yet customers with whom ATW spoke confirm its value.
Reducing airline labor costs is usually fraught with turmoil, but curtailing fuel consumption is a task on which management and labor usually can agree. For those carriers with cash in the bank, a risk management strategy involving financial instruments may be the most complete-and rewarding-way to smooth out the peaks and valleys. When prices just keep rising, however, as has been the case over the past 12-18 months, even hedging has its limitations. And many cash-strapped airlines simply lack the funds to participate.
Editor's Note: This is the first in an occasional series of articles on relationships between IT suppliers and airlines
Finnair's seven-year relationship with information technology provider Lufthansa Systems Aeronautics, a member of Lufthansa Group, has yielded millions of dollars in savings and revenue for the Nordic carrier through scheduling, planning, pricing, profit, route planning and management software.
Enterprise resource planning systems and related software are becoming mandatory components of the maintenance, repair and overhaul supply chain at many airlines. Once the sole province of finance, human resources and management, these single-point and complex IT solutions are being acquired by carriers to cut costs and streamline MRO as well as to replace outdated and expensive-to-maintain legacy systems.
Taking a page from Boeing's full-service playbook, Montreal-based CAE Inc. has gone full throttle into the flight training business by acquiring like companies and forming partnerships with OEMs and airlines in an attempt to create a more balanced, financially stable training services company.
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