Helping airlines stay on schedule this holiday season

According to the travel app Hopper, as of early November, nearly 25 million passengers were expected to depart on flights from U.S. airports over the Thanksgiving travel week – up 6 percent from 2019 levels. Airlines, airports and passengers are hoping this increased traffic doesn’t mimic the somewhat chaotic summer travel season that featured unprecedented flight delays and cancellations across the United States.

In fact, in August of 2022, the Department of Transportation (DOT) said it received more than 7,000 complaints from flyers – a 6 percent increase compared with July and a 320 percent increase compared with pre-pandemic levels. With flight problems being the highest category of complaints received that month, 32 percent concerned cancellations, delays or other deviations from airlines’ schedules. And according to FlightAware, a Collins Aerospace company, 19.2 percent of U.S. and international flights were delayed between July 2021 and July 2022 – leaving one in five passengers late for vacation fun or business events.

Technology’s role in smoother air travel

“The good news is that help is on the horizon,” said Jennifer Schopfer, president of Connected Aviation Solutions for Collins Aerospace. “Airlines have been working hard to ensure crews are available as pilot shortages continue, with flight schedules being adjusted accordingly. However, we can’t control the weather, and in winter that can change in an instant, making even the best-laid plans go awry.”

Technology can also play a key role in helping airlines stay on schedule, working around that unpredictable weather and keeping passengers happy.

“Collins Aerospace, for example, offers a full stack of solutions that give airlines the power to predict, analyze and optimize air travel. This not only improves everything from the passenger experience to sustainability efforts, but also leads to fewer delays and cancellations,” Schopfer said.

“Using historical aircraft and flight information, combined with real-time data, we can provide airlines with an unparalleled opportunity for improving their operations,” said Erin McCleave, vice president of Business Development and Strategy. “Our tools give them the power to predict and take actions to prevent potential disruptions due to weather, maintenance needs, traffic or other causes both on the ground and in flight.”

Using analytics to improve operations

Collins’ solutions also provide airlines with the ability to gain meaningful and timely insights to the overall health of their aircraft, significantly reducing the need to pull an aircraft from service. For systems that may have undetected and uncorrected hardware failures, losing track of that critical information can lead to equipment damage, flight delays and cancellations, or even costly flight diversions. Having access to additional data leads to fuel cost savings, better maintained aircraft and reduced carbon emissions for the airlines, resulting in a safer, more comfortable passenger experience.

Collins’ Ascentia® analytics services give airlines the ability to make informed, strategic maintenance decisions before an aircraft has to be taken out of service. Leveraging the company’s systems expertise and manufacturing know-how, Ascentia helps transform an airline’s data into actionable information that can be leveraged to improve operations and address pain points.

Ascentia has been proven to decrease potential delays by approximately 30 percent and decrease unscheduled maintenance by approximately 20 percent – both of which result in more ontime operations for the airline and greater customer satisfaction for passengers.

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Ascentia reduces flight delays by ~30% and unscheduled maintenance by ~20%

Ensuring the most efficient routes

Nothing is better than arriving at a destination faster and safer than expected. Flight Profile Optimization (FPO) from Collins is an advanced, real-time decision-making tool for flight crews, airline operators and dispatchers built around one simple question: What’s the best way to get from point A to B?

“We all like to follow the most efficient route when we travel, and we use apps on our phones or in our cars to alert us to obstacles on the road and provide options for alternate routes,” McCleave said. “Our FPO solution works the same way for commercial aviation. It’s designed to find the best route, using real time weather information for example to avoid changing wind conditions, and determine the safest, most cost-effective and fuel-efficient way to deliver passengers from their point of departure to their destinations."

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Flight Profile Optimizer helps find the safest, most cost-effective, fuel-efficient routes – getting passengers to their destination even faster.

Providing flight information at your fingertips

As a passenger, knowing the exact time your flight is expected to land is important for making connections or communicating pickup times. It’s just as important for airlines to have real-time data so they can better optimize crew schedules and flight turnaround times. FlightAware operates the world's largest flight tracking and data platform that not only provides airlines, airports, and aircraft operation service providers with global flight tracking solutions, but also predictive technology, analytics and decision-making tools. Access to this crucial information means airlines can serve their customers with fewer delays and more on-time departures – all of which makes for happier passengers.

FlightAware has become popular with millions of savvy travelers via its easy-to-use free app that sends updates and alerts for any selected flight – providing passengers with critical information on their handheld devices.

Learn more about the full suite of predictive solutions available from Collins Aerospace.