How to trim your schedule & codeshare management for the recovery to the “New Normal”

Waves (Copyright: Pixabay – Dimitris Vetsikas)

The pandemic is having a worldwide effect. Nearly every economy has to fight with the negative impacts. The aviation sector in particular is very badly affected by the crisis. Airlines get away from the traditional seasonal-based schedule planning to a more agile way. What does it mean for schedule and codeshare management?

Every airline had to reduce its operational network significantly by keeping its planes on the ground. Thereby, the airlines acted differently: Some of them updated their schedule “on sight” only, which means, they concentrated their schedule actions on the next 2-3 weeks and kept the flights afterwards still untouched. These so-called “schedule update waves” are repeated always in line with the new market situation and existing travel regulations. Other airlines already updated their schedule until the end of the current season.

This extreme situation caused by the pandemic is forcing airlines to make massive schedule changes, which usually happen just before a new season, multiple times within a season, month or even week.

All these actions are performed under specific conditions – airline staff to manage the massive schedule changes and the relating impacts in all relevant systems is significantly reduced due to cost-cutting measures like short-time work, furloughs or temporary suspension. The outcome is that more time-critical work has to be done by reduced staff in a very short time, mostly at the expense of quality. 

These extraordinary times mercilessly reveal the processes in which problems already existed during normal times:

  • The schedule delivery pattern to codeshare partners is not adjusted to the massive schedule changes. A distribution just once or twice a week is not enough nowadays. Airlines have to ask themselves: Does my process support to send my up-to-date schedule data with the latest changes to my partner in a higher frequency, e.g. every day?
  • The schedule receipt on codeshare partner side including the marketing flight generation is not designed for the increased schedule delivery by the partner. Manual work and intervention do not allow a more frequent processing. Airlines have to ask themselves: Is my process designed to receive my partners’ schedules at a higher frequency in time?
  • Also how GDS and CRS systems are updated with schedule data has to be checked. Airlines have to ask themselves: Are my publication processes designed for an ideal time-to-market, even under consideration of massive schedule change waves in-between of a season?

Schedule Managers should always keep in mind: The schedule is the base of any action within the company. If there are inconsistencies in the schedule, it has always negative effects on all airline departments.

The good news are: Airlines can learn from the nowadays-extreme situation! They can learn how to trim their processes to be ready for the “New Normal”. With the right tool support, they will be able to focus on business decisions and react fast to changing conditions without being slowed down by manual work. Getting ready now and improving the processes and installing software will give an advantage in reaching the “New Normal” faster and with high quality.

#SchedConnect