September 28, 2022 | By JETechnology Staff
A top priority for commercial airlines is to increase efficiency and lower costs while delivering top-quality services. Meeting these objectives is increasingly difficult as new challenges facing the airline industry emerge, from increased competition and technological advances to evolving consumer behaviors. As needs change, airline operators must adapt to meet new demands and improve their airline operations.
Several factors that affect airline efficiency and performance are outside of an airline’s control. However, operators can use several strategies to improve airline operations. By acting decisively to improve efficiency, operators can adjust to changing demands and help airlines survive.
5 Ways to Make Airline Operations More Efficient
Proactive improvement is essential for long-term value creation and growth. Commercial airline operators must discover how to improve airline industry operations while increasing efficiency. If they don’t, the next few years could see a presence of fewer airlines.
Consider the five ways to make airline operations more efficient:
1. Invest in the Cloud, IT and Digital
The difference between faltering along and staying relevant is the willingness to overhaul an existing system and implement drastic changes to gain a competitive advantage. Improving operations in any industry requires a considerable investment. Airline industry players are also finding this accurate, especially regarding technology.
Top airlines increasingly utilize technology in their operations, from streamlining the customer experience to enhancing aircraft maintenance. With competition increasing and more airlines noticing the need for adaptability, the future of aviation relies on whether airline carriers adopt technology and more automated processes.
Here are a few top areas in which airlines can increase efficiency using technology:
Moving to the Cloud
As with many other industries, the aviation industry is moving to the cloud. Migrating document management and information processes to the cloud provides a host of benefits, including:
- Streamlined record-keeping: Manual processes and paper-based records are time-consuming and cumbersome. Cloud systems eliminate time-consuming manual processes and store information securely.
- Connecting airport devices: Airports increasingly use kiosks and sensors embedded with Internet of Things (IoT) technology that can track passengers throughout check-in and boarding. If airlines move these devices to a cloud-based network, they can connect them and more efficiently track customers.
Airlines can digitize document management using two methods:
- Scanning: By scanning documents into a cloud-based system, airlines can quickly convert paper documents into an electronic format that is easily accessible through the cloud.
- Reformatting: Reformatting documents requires an in-depth knowledge of application programming and software. Many airlines may opt for scanning if their in-house IT team isn’t up to the task of reformatting documents.
An increasingly digital market demands an enhanced digital response. Although struggling airlines may not think increasing their spending on technology is the first solution, investing more in IT services can be a significant boost. An airline’s information technology (IT) department:
- Manages airspace traffic
- Maximizes airport space
- Improves the communication system
Airline spending on IT worldwide has increased since 2015, with peak spending in 2019 reaching $49.6 billion. Although that spending has recently dipped, airlines can still benefit from a greater investment in IT services that streamline operations.
Digitization is one of the top changes in the airline industry. From contactless passenger check-in to increased security, digitization smooths many of the operations airlines conduct every day. Airlines can benefit from digitized processes such as:
- Digitized boarding passes
- Selling directly to the customer through customer-facing apps
- Automated check-in measures
- Biometric facial recognition
- Digital bag-checking
- Enhanced security and bag scanning measures
2. Collect and Archive Data
Data analytics is the future of aviation. Most airlines already collect vast amounts of real-time data in several areas — from aircraft operation to on-time performance and delays. An airline’s ability to sort through, organize and leverage this data seamlessly is crucial to whether it can gain an advantage. As the capabilities of computers and digitization increase, top airlines are turning to data analytics to improve efficiency.
Commercial airline operators can use aircraft data for:
Data collection enables predictive aircraft maintenance, which utilizes airline operations software to gather data during an aircraft’s flight. The software detects any maintenance needs before they become an issue and alerts mechanics to the problem, saving airlines time and money. Some of the top commercial airlines use predictive maintenance analytics to:
- Collect component and operational data
- Make repairs faster, resulting in fewer major component failure
- Avoid flight delays
- Lessen the time aircraft spend grounded
- Reduce the cost of replacement parts and labor
- Decrease instances of unscheduled maintenance
- Ensure each flight is safe for passengers and crew
Flight planning is one area where data collection and archiving can significantly benefit airlines. Real-time monitoring can help air traffic control, pilots and commercial airline operators spot potential delays and even predict what might cause future flight disruptions. More airlines are using data management solutions and artificial intelligence (AI) to shift flight schedules more efficiently by:
- Improving flight paths: Receiving real-time data about weather patterns allows airlines to optimize flight schedules and fuel efficiency. With this information, airlines can redirect flights to enhance efficiency.
- Predicting flight disruptions: Airline AI and machine learning algorithms can predict possible delays using a pattern of data accumulated over time. Predicting delays lets stakeholders adjust their processes to streamline flight schedules. Airlines may make this information available to passengers to improve the customer experience.
- Optimizing airline performance: Historical data is critical to improving overall airline efficiency, especially in how airlines schedule block times, the time between when an aircraft pushes back from the departure gate to when it arrives at the destination gate. Airlines with longer block times can improve on-time performance and minimize disruptions’ impact on the aircraft’s flight schedule. However, airlines must consider several other factors that impact on-time performance.
Making More Informed Decisions
Data provides valuable insights into every aspect of airline operation. Commercial airline operators might use data to make more informed decisions about a broad range of issues, including:
- Making boarding the aircraft more efficient
- Analyzing customer data to improve the experience
- Archiving data for later use in analyzing trends
3. Communicate With Your Employees
As with other industries, employees in the airline industry are an integral aspect of its success. Airline employees make air travel possible, and the more employees are invested in the airline’s mission, the better they will accomplish it. Increased efficiency requires increased collaboration across all departments within the airline. Consider a few ways keeping employees in the loop can improve performance:
Staying Informed on Schedule Changes
Utilizing real-time data to stay ahead of schedule changes is only helpful if employees can receive that information as it arrives. When delays and disruptions shift flights unexpectedly, employees should be able to collaborate to achieve performance goals. Airlines may use several strategies to inform employees of flight schedule changes:
- Daily operations meetings: Daily meetings with the department are an effective way to brief everyone on the day’s flight schedules. These meetings give employees the chance to ask questions and clarify schedule details.
- Technology: Delays sometimes happen, and when they do, airlines need a strategy to notify employees of changes. The faster employees receive notifications of schedule changes, the better they can respond and minimize disruptions. Many airlines use emails and phone calls, but these methods are less efficient. A better solution is mobile technology, such as an airline employee app that sends automated alerts when a schedule is changed.
Streamlining Communication About Issues
If maintenance teams, flight crews or other employees need an answer to a question, they need a straightforward process for getting help. Giving everyone a network for solving problems streamlines the communication process and makes airline operations more efficient. A few strategies for improving problem-solving communication include:
- An open door policy: Weekly meetings don’t go far enough in providing opportunities for addressing operational efficiencies. Airline leadership should create an open door policy that encourages ongoing communication with employees. The airline should continually communicate its goals and plans through frequent updates.
- One-on-one meetings: Airline leadership and department heads may not know the issues employees are dealing with unless they report them. Scheduling occasional one-on-one meetings with every department member can give leaders insight into challenges and help them communicate how each employee fits into the airline’s goals.
Improving the Customer Experience
You need all employees committed to your organization’s priorities and providing an exceptional travel experience, from maintenance staff to ground personnel. Employees who are engaged with company values are invaluable. As your airline makes improvements to increase efficiency, these employees will step in to implement changes and work toward success in delivering the best experience possible.
Increasing communication with employees can improve the customer experience by:
- Enhancing employee commitment to delivering quality service
- Updating travelers faster about schedule changes
- Enabling employees to make faster decisions
4. Collaborate With Your Partners
Airline partnerships significantly impact efficiency, from airports to air service developers and logistics partners. Airlines can’t control their partners’ operations, but they should constantly analyze the value of their partnership and strategize ways to become more cooperative.
Airlines should ask these questions when evaluating their airline partners:
- Does this partnership provide the solution to an existing problem?
- Are this partner and deal aligned with our airline values?
- Do both organizations gain significantly from working together?
Airline partnerships are increasingly common as airlines seek creative solutions to challenges in the aviation industry. The benefits of enhancing strategic airline partnerships include:
Sharing the Load
Partnerships should support your business objectives, not drag you down. Airline partnerships let both parties focus on simplifying operations, freeing time and resources for other tasks. Collaborating with partners could look like:
- Adopting a technology solution from a service provider
- Codesharing with other airlines
- Outsourcing digital marketing
- Creating a streamlined check-in and baggage claim process with a logistics provider
Multiplying Market Reach
Partnerships can be an effective strategy for increasing market reach. For example, airline networks can optimize operations by sharing different segments of the market. One airline within a network might service transatlantic and transcontinental flights, while another supports domestic flights.
Consider a few other ways partnerships can be an integral part of an airline’s go-to-market strategy:
- Stretching resources further
- Boosting the appeal of airports
- Utilizing data to reach potential travelers
- Enhancing brand appeal
Partnerships are also the birthplace of innovation. These cooperatives are designed to solve issues creatively, and their combined knowledge and resources can be highly beneficial for both.
5. Invest in High-Quality Aircraft Maintenance Stands
Passenger and aircraft safety are top concerns for commercial airline operators. According to the Federal Aviation Administration, about 2.9 million passengers fly into and out of airports in the United States daily. That’s why completing preventative maintenance and providing maintenance staff with the right tools, from ground support equipment to hardware, is essential to efficient airline operation.
A critical way for airlines to improve efficiency in aircraft maintenance is with commercial aircraft maintenance stands. Aircraft maintenance platforms are an integral feature of an airport repair station. These structures give aircraft mechanics better accessibility to unique aircraft and provide other benefits such as:
Every aircraft has a unique construction and requires mechanics to work at different heights. Maintenance technicians can work more efficiently when they have the necessary tools. With aircraft maintenance stands that fit their specific aircraft, maintenance teams can:
- Set up aircraft maintenance platforms quickly and begin repairs
- Perform repairs more efficiently
- Streamline their service strategy
Airlines prioritize safety for their employees and customers to provide the best experience possible. Having the right equipment for proper maintenance is critical to ensuring the safety of all involved with the aircraft. Aircraft maintenance stands improve safety for:
- Mechanics: These structures use the highest grade of materials and are designed to offer maximum stability at extreme angles. Aircraft mechanics can work with the confidence that their aircraft maintenance platform provides the support and fall protection they need.
- Passengers and crew: Thorough aircraft maintenance is essential to safety during flight. When technicians have the proper support, they can perform more comprehensive maintenance and minimize opportunities for mistakes.
Aircraft maintenance platforms provide maintenance technicians with the support they need to catch every detail. Airlines should also look for stands made with high-quality materials and come with a warranty to ensure they can fulfill the airline’s needs.
View Our Commercial Aircraft Maintenance Stands
As your airline faces industry changes and other challenges to efficiency, you need robust solutions and strategies to meet changing needs. When you need aircraft maintenance platforms and other ground support equipment, turn to JETechnology Solutions.
At JETechnology Solutions, we manufacture aircraft maintenance stands with innovative designs to improve safety and help bring your airline into the future. We use high-quality, military-grade materials to provide safe aircraft maintenance stands designed to meet your unique needs. JETechnology has a combined experience of 75 years in designing and fabricating fall protection equipment in the aircraft maintenance space.
Browse our commercial aircraft maintenance stands today and learn how we can design a custom solution for you.