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Flight planning plays a critical role in the aviation sector and is a crucial travel planning process that keeps pilots en route while airborne.
A custom flight operations software provides specific details regarding travel duration, fuel consumption, vehicle weight, forecasted weather conditions, and air traffic. This information helps pilots reach their intended destination on time and, more importantly, in one piece.
Should a plane ever take off without a flight plan in place, air traffic control (ATC) wouldn’t be able to track its journey. Without sufficient air control coverage, the plane in question would be liable to veer off course and, in turn, collide with a fellow aviation vehicle.
The result of such an incident taking place would be catastrophic.
Without flight plans, air-based travel would be grounded. Every commercial airline flight must depart with this official documentation in place.
Minimize Flight Costs & Increased Operational Efficiency
Keeping pilots, cabin crew members, and plane passengers safe while they soar through the sky is, of course, the main goal of flight planning. There are, however, two other reasons for airline operators to perform this task: reduced costs and increased operational efficiency.
Flying is an expensive and arduous endeavor for the flight dispatcher. Several labor-intensive, time-consuming, and costly tasks must be performed to get aviation vehicles off the runway and into the clouds.
To streamline their operations with efficiency and cost-effectiveness in mind, airline operators aim to optimize the height and speed at which their aircraft vehicles travel. They also attempt to switch their routing choices and lower the amount of fuel they carry on board.
Flight Operations Software Is Ready for Takeoff
On any given day, the flight planning process can be blighted by all manner of uncontrollable issues. Some of these problems include outdated or irrelevant air traffic control systems, airport runway congestion, and pure bad luck with the weather.
These issues conspire to throw even the most detailed and comprehensive of flight plans into chaos. It’s a good job, then, that cutting-edge flight operations software is at hand to help.
Optimized airline technology is designed to economize the aviation process. This is achieved through the accurate pinpointing of potential airborne inefficiencies and the subsequent leveraging of robust operational solutions to avoid these issues.
Enabled by the following integrations, modern flight operations software can maximize the overall efficiency of new and old aircraft vehicles.
Route optimization is a critical component of air traffic management. Its goal is to ensure that the flight dispatcher meets safety, stability, and fuel consumption specifications across the entire aviation journey. This integration achieves this by facilitating a clear pathway for aircraft vehicles to follow.
Using up-to-date meteorological forecasts, flight operations software can calculate real-time routes that aren’t likely to be plagued by turbulence. By embarking on clear flight paths that meet the latest ATC weather condition requirements, flights can avoid skewing off route and burning their fuel supply. What’s more, they can also circumvent costly aircraft damage and even costlier passenger injury lawsuits.
Once they integrate route optimization into their flight planning process, air traffic management systems can reduce the cost of airborne scheduling conflicts. This helps to streamline the flow of aircraft traffic, which subsequently reduces plane downtime. Not only does this slash flight dispatcher expenses, but it also assists airports in maximizing the profit potential of their lucrative runway real estate.
Today’s robust flight operations software can provide accurate information to pilots, flight planners, and ATC wardens whenever they require it.
By harnessing the power of both engineering and information management, flight operations software can integrate seamlessly with Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) applications. This airline technology automates the provision of critical reference material, thus granting airline operators direct access to essential, real-time information.
EFB apps provide digitized access to the following in-flight documents:
● An up-to-date flight-crew operating manual
● Navigational charts
● Own-ship position
The latter keeps pilots abreast of all the variables that could potentially disrupt their end-to-end flight passage. Accurate own-ship position data (latitude, longitude, altitude, time, velocity, etc.) facilitates full-scale positional perception and an improved decision-making process.
Dynamic Airborne Replanning
Whenever they take off and enter the aerodrome traffic zone, flights are at the mercy of Mother Nature. All the planning in the world will never truly prepare a pilot for what they experience while they are airborne.
Dynamic airborne replanning technology updates the pilot on all the potential pitfalls awaiting them on their route. It constantly accesses real-time congestion data, downlinks to meteorological control systems, and provides automated fuel tankering alerts. Pilots can then leverage all of this crucial information in their attempt to make safer and smarter midflight flying decisions.
By adopting a custom dynamic airborne replanning solution, the flight dispatcher can remain ahead of the curve when finding their pilots’ most economical flight path. Crucially, this helps airline operators to keep their fuel consumption rates down to the bare minimum.
A recent NASA simulation study proved that having an optimized re-routing operation can save airlines up to 12,000 gallons of fuel per aircraft per year. For the world’s leading airlines, that can easily amount to an annual fuel, maintenance, and depreciation cost saving of $5 million.
Optimal Redispatch Decision Point
Adopting optimal redispatch decision point technology is another great way for airline operators to minimize fuel consumption.
This custom integration technology aids in the reduction of contingency fuel by splitting a flight plan into two separate calculations:
· Calculation 1: From the departure airport to a landing zone that is geographically closer than the proposed destination
· Calculation 2: From a decision point situated on the intended express flight route
This automated flight planning integration then pinpoints a redispatch location aligned with both of the proposed contingency fuel points. This allows the flight dispatcher to load a cost-effective fuel supply that won’t compromise either the safety or legality of its flight operation.
Flying High but Keeping the Costs Down Using Flight Planning Systems
Merely having a flight plan in place is not necessarily enough to make a serious dent in the financial toll of air travel.
Crew wages, fuel prices, airport fees, and maintenance demands all contribute to the ever-rising expense of modern aviation. A typical ATR 72-600 flight can cost between $2000 – $2500 per hour to operate – and that’s just short-haul! It’s no wonder, then, that so many airline charter companies have recently shut their boarding gates for good.
To optimize the effectiveness of their flight planning process, airline operators are now clambering to integrate flight operations software into their workflow. Want to ensure that your flight planning system is capable of meeting this burgeoning demand? If so, aligning yourself with a company that specializes in flight operations software is vital.
With custom-tailored VRF and IFR software solutions augmented into your development process, you will be able to create a safe, stable, and sustainable flight planning system.
Prem Khatri is the Vice President of Operations for Chetu, Inc., a global, custom software development company, where he oversees all development projects and technical operations. His primary responsibilities are to lead, track and manage technical teams that create custom software solutions. His background includes software development using C++, Java, and Microsoft technologies. Since joining Chetu in 2008, he has helped the company become an award-winning global presence in the customized software development field. Prior to joining Chetu, Prem worked for Tata Consultancy Services, as well as Blue Star Infotech, and is a graduate of both the University of Mumbai and Savitribai Phule Pune University. Prem is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP).