Lufthansa Systems Blog

How can we support airlines to safeguard profitability and survive the corona crisis?


Mar 24, 2020

In exceptional situations such as the current collapse in travel demand due to the worldwide Corona crisis, it is vital for airlines to quickly adapt their flight schedules to a new reality. Capacity and operational costs must be significantly reduced. Schedule changes must be immediately published, so that operational planning areas can react to reduce the impact on both customers and the airline’s resources.

In such challenging events, network and scheduling departments experience an exceptionally high workload. Often, it becomes impossible for the planners and schedulers to process the volume of changes and simultaneously deliver the quality of analysis required before making the changes. This can result in a poor schedule and further profitability loss. During a state of emergency, this may threaten the very survival of an airline.

One important way to avoid this is to give planners and schedulers the capacity to be efficient and accurate at the same time. The best way to do it is to equip them with schedule optimization tools.

The fallout of the Corona crisis can be more efficiently managed with the Tactical Fleet Assigner. This powerful optimizer is a perfect crisis management tool. It has the ability to cancel flights with low demand and reassign the remaining flights to the lowest cost aircraft, while preserving the existing demand. The Tactical Fleet Assigner considers all known operational constraints, understands variable and fixed costs, and automatically generates a fully optimized schedule. The correct consideration of crew and maintenance costs, in particular, has a great influence on the cost side.

The Fleet Assigner can deliver thousands of cost-reducing changes across any selected schedule range, within a few minutes. Under “normal” circumstances, the Tactical Fleet Assigner helps airlines increase profitability by targeting revenue optimization. However, in critical situations such as the current one, the Fleet Assigner can have a significant impact on how successful the airline contains the profitability collapse.

For airlines considering using schedule optimization tools in crisis, we have the following advice:


1. Choose the optimizer that is closely integrated with the existing scheduling tool.

This is necessary to maintain process efficiency and avoid confusion, errors and misunderstandings, especially when experts are under pressure. Having an optimizer that is not integrated with the scheduling tool also means that all the reference data, cost and demand data, rules and constraints, have to be maintained separately in two separate systems.


2. Choose optimizers that are “horizontally” integrated with other critical tools outside of the scheduling department.

Integration is not only important within the Network Planning and Scheduling department. Efficient communication with other critical departments, such as operational areas and revenue management, is essential for a fast implementation of crisis schedule scenarios. A drastically changed and reduced schedule has a huge impact on crew planning. To be able to consider crew requirements during optimization drastically reduces this impact.

For further details please contact:

Besides network planning, we also offer support in the areas of Ops Control and MRO to help your airline navigate through the challenging times due to the Corona crisis. We have several experts with up to 40 years of real airline experience, who steered world-leading airlines through many crises. We are also sure that this is not the last crisis to come and that every airline should be best prepared – something that we can help you with.

Interested in a free online conference, where some of our experts will share their crisis experience with you? Join one of our next sessions or watch the recordings.

Tags: airline consultingNetwork Planningcrisis assistancecrisis assistance packageCOVID-19coronaLufthansa SystemsLufthansa Systems Blog
Judith Semar
Product Owner NetLine Schedule Optimization
Author-page, 3 posts
Lufthansa Systems Blog