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Airlines face a constant battle to win more passengers, reach new destinations and grow profits. But as new, often lower-cost carriers enter the market and disruptive technologies continue to break new ground, the best way for existing carriers to ensure competitiveness is not just to splash cash on luxury services or drive down fares – rather, look inward to improve operational efficiencies and cost-effectiveness.

You may roll your eyes and mumble ‘you would say that, wouldn’t you’, but hold on! A few simple figures pinpoint where the challenges and opportunities lie. Drawing on recent industry research— you can see them all in this new summary infographic—here are some hard-hitting numbers that can make or break airline competitiveness:

60 percent of commercial aviation players challenged by operational availability

A recent IFS study examining the major pain points in commercial aviation found operational availability to be the greatest challenge in the industry—cited by 60 per cent of survey respondents.

Improving operational availability and avoiding costly schedule delays is key to driving greater efficiencies – and it all begins in the maintenance planning process.

$1 profit for every $10 invested in maintenance

A typical flight is not cheap to operate. Once an aircraft is fueled up (almost a third of overall operating expenses), salaries paid, ownership costs and government fees deducted, airlines still need to allocate for maintenance, before they can count their profit.

In fact, 11% of the overall cost of operating an aircraft goes purely towards maintenance. This number is over 10 times the amount airlines earn in profit on each plane.

It’s not difficult to see why operators want to ensure they adequately budget for maintenance. The repercussions of a simple aircraft fault and delay can spread like wildfire across fleets and timetables. Viewed from a simple spreadsheet or a generic planning tool, the issue at hand becomes one dimensional, with maintenance planners having to prioritize resources and reschedule fleets on the spot – either resulting in loss of revenue, limited seat availability and almost always disruption to flight schedules.

58 percent of aircraft entering service by 2027 will be complex

These outdated maintenance planning tools not only limit the day-to-day operations, but also the strategic growth initiatives of airlines.

Long-range fleet maintenance planners need to work out how to support more aircraft, as well as how to support new fleet types. But with a new breed of increasingly complex aircraft entering service, aligning long-range maintenance plans to fit new support models and constantly shifting labor and parts availability becomes impossible to manage manually.

A 10 percent reduction in maintenance costs can double profits

Using real-time data to guide maintenance planning and resource allocation can enable operators to maximize yield from the aircraft, minimize ground time and make the most efficient use of technician labor. Driving efficiencies through automation could see airlines reduce maintenance costs by ten percent, which would help them double their profits on each aircraft.

There is a way to reduce maintenance expenditure while keeping the fuel tank full, the taxman happy and the staff paid.

Maintenance planning – in the Cloud

IFS has been working closely with world-leading airlines to develop two solutions that make sense of the numbers and translate them into better operational availability across short and long-term maintenance horizons. These SaaS-based maintenance planning solutions under the IFS Maintenix family—IFS Maintenix Fleet PlannerTM and IFS Maintenix Line PlannerTM—are scalable applications that can plug into any Maintenance & Engineering system to enable more efficient, cost-effective aircraft maintenance planning.

Cloud-based for quick deployment with a high level of in-built automation, the solutions are underpinned by IFS’ track record of helping customers reduce their maintenance costs by as much as 15% through optimized planning.

Spreadsheets and legacy planning tools? It’s a swift goodbye!

To learn more about how IFS Maintenix Fleet Planner and Line Planner solutions help airlines drive greater aircraft operational availability through optimized maintenance planning, see the infographic  and download the white paper.

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