Flight Plan

Robust flight plans can keep airlines afloat

| | Updated on: Jan 09, 2022
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Almost every minute across the world, a passenger hops on to a flight to reach his destination but may hardly give a thought to what goes behind the scene to make him fly safe and arrive on time.

It involves some robust route planning, based on two key factors which are (a) fuel calculation to ensure that the flight reaches the destination without any incidents and (b) compliance with air traffic control requirements.

There are several software products to help flight planners to reduce flight cost through means of choosing the right route, calculating height and speed for each flight and loading the right amount of fuel into the aircraft. Once the flight plan is set, it is given to the Air Traffic Services for clearance and for the separation of aircraft in mid-air.The flight planners are also supposed to verify all NOTAMs — notice to airmen — for the departure and arrival in airports and airspace regions by which the aircraft will pass, to ensure that there are no restrictions that may disrupt the flight route.

The number one priority of flight planning is assuring the safety of the aircraft and of its occupants. Upon the creation of the plan, planners must verify all NOTAMs – Notice To Air Men – for the departure and arrival airports, as well as the airspace regions by which the aircraft will pass. This is to review any restrictions that may disrupt or alter the progress of the flight.According to Flightworx, a flight support solutions company, while there are numerous variables that can affect fuel consumption during a flight, air currents between the troposphere and stratosphere could be one prime factor. The jetstreams play a major role in the transatlantic sector between North America and Europe, which impacts flight planning.

This can result in the aircraft reaching earlier than the expected time of arrival, bringing down the cost because of lower fuel consumption. Several airlines either use their own resources for flight planning or external agencies to help them plan. What is important to note is that smarter flight planning is one of the key determinants for an airline to remain afloat or viable for a longer period of time. (Source: Flightworx).

Published on January 09, 2022

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