Operations during and post-COVID-19 will never be the same as before. Many airlines will adopt their existing flight schedules, and change operating bases and aircraft allocation. From an operations point of view, aircraft will be operated more frequently with lower load factors and weights. Turn-around times may increase due to various COVID-related restrictions. While all these issues are challenging from a commercial standpoint, from a fuel-saving standpoint they shall be considered as opportunities mainly in the following areas:
Better aircraft assignment: By knowing precisely the present and forecasted aircraft deterioration, the aircraft assignment process can be optimized. StorkJet monitors aircraft performance and can support airlines in the aircraft allocation process.
More on StorkJet’s APM.
Re-prioritization of the fuel efficiency initiatives: Based on QAR statistics, StorkJet concludes that currently, and also likely in the future, airlines will observe fewer ATC restrictions due to lower traffic and will operate with lower payloads. Both factors are relevant to fuel-saving potential regarding the following initiatives:
- Altitude optimization & Continuous Descent Operations: Less ATC restrictions. This gives more opportunities to fly at optimum altitudes and perform optimum descents.
- Cost Index recalculation: It is important to calculate the dynamic Cost Index using the latest fuel price, but also to review time-related costs. Changes in aircraft leasing agreements, crew costs, and maintenance costs – all are subject to the new reality we are in during and after COVID-19.
- Single-engine taxi: Lower weights give more opportunities to taxi with a single engine and increase single-engine taxi savings (aircraft is more overpowered).
- Longer turn-around times cause that cost balance between APU & GPU changes. GPU usage: Generally, longer turn-around times result in more savings from using GPU.
- Lower weights mean lower approach speed. Reduced Landing Flaps: This gives opportunities to more often perform reduced flap landing.
Airlines operate in a world full of big data. Without proper tools, the potential standing behind it is still not uncovered. StorkJet’s FuelPro airlines process QAR / FDR data and analyze it in areas of over 30 fuel initiatives like flight speed & altitude optimization, single-engine taxi, discretionary fuel, usage of reverser, reduced take-off & landing flaps, flight planning system statistics, and much more.