An international airline reduces costs of aircraft parking and engine maintenance through smarter scheduling
A 30% reduction in aircraft parking outsourcing costs and a 30% reduction in operational and rule violation costs for engine maintenance.
The airline wanted to reduce costs by making the processes of assigning aircraft to parking slots and scheduling engine maintenance more efficient.
The international airline reduced costs for aircraft parking and engine maintenance by improving scheduling for these operations. The resulting applications optimized results to save money and time.
What IBM did
Figuring out where to park a variety of aircraft types to load or unload passengers or for maintenance is very complex. Some planes can't be unloaded or loaded in certain parking spaces. Some kinds of maintenance can only be done in one spot or another. And, moving planes constitutes 30%-40% of the cost of parking. Worse yet, if the plane isn't parked in a space that the airline owns and remains for more than three hours in one owned by the airport, the airline must pay rent.
This was the challenge that the client was facing when trying to reduce the costs of parking its aircraft. Because of its experience with crew scheduling optimization, IBM Research was brought in to develop an application that would be able to consider all the constraints involved and optimize schedules to reduce the operational costs of parking.
IBM built a user-friendly application that contains advanced mathematical models and algorithms that find the optimal solution for parking any set of aircraft over a specific period of time. The application considers the many complex variables involved in scheduling aircraft parking in less than three minutes and can be manually adjusted using a graphical interface.
Managing maintenance scheduling was also complex. Engines need to be rotated off aircraft for maintenance and variables, such as run time, engine type, availability of mechanics and flight schedules must all be taken into account. Prior to the introduction of the engine maintenance application, scheduling for 30 engines once took three to four days. If the scheduling wasn't done properly, the airline had to pay rental for spare engines as well as penalties for early or late maintenance.
IBM developed an engine management application that reduced scheduling time for 30 engines to one hour and helped reduce operational and rule violation costs by 30%. In addition, the parking scheduling application helped reduce outsourcing costs by 30%.
IBM Research has years of experience in developing core optimization technologies and architectures and using them to solve high-end industrial problems. This experience was combined with IBM Global Business Services' business acumen to deliver a valuable solution for the airline's scheduling problems.