Effective aircraft turnaround management can help airports, airlines, and ground handling personnel improve their reputations by meeting customer expectations. With so many stakeholders involved and critical procedures that need to be followed, there is always a chance that something might go wrong, but key decision-makers can mitigate these problems by familiarizing themselves with some of the most common issues. Which issues do we see time and time again? This article discusses the most commonplace challenges during aircraft turnaround.
Successful aircraft turnaround management takes the possibility of ground handling issues into consideration. After an aircraft arrives at the gate, the ground handling crew must unload cargo and baggage, refuel the airplane, address catering needs, and reload the aircraft for the next flight.
Airlines and airports need the aircraft to depart on time to remain profitable. If ground handling procedures do not meet projected time requirements, the aircraft might be delayed. Delays can lead to further expenses for airlines—depending on the length of the delay, the airline will need to foot the bill for lodging and other expenses that their passengers experience.
When passengers do not show up for their flight, the resulting lost time can impact the flight. While missing passengers without checked baggage can simply be offloaded from the flight, no-show passengers with checked baggage may cause a delay because their bags must be located and removed from the flight.
If multiple passengers with checked baggage fail to show—perhaps a family that has lost track of time in a restaurant or lounge—removing the baggage can be more time-intensive. Ground handling and boarding challenges that don’t cause a delay on their own may pile up enough to keep the aircraft from leaving on time.
According to the International Air Travel Association (IATA), aircraft ground damage costs will increase from $5.7 billion in 2020 to exceed $8 billion by 2030. Most occurrences of ground damage arise from human error, which suggests that decision-makers should focus on increasing their commitment to safety procedures.
Ground support equipment should be properly functioning to reduce the risk of accidents and downtime. Make sure your ground support personnel are properly trained and have access to the most reliable equipment available. To keep your equipment working, plan and implement a maintenance program in coordination with your maintenance staff.
Proper aircraft turnaround management requires standardized procedures to ensure personnel are set up for success. Standardization allows your ground support crew and other key personnel to save time by following the same procedures each time. Cleaning, baggage handling, and boarding are more efficient if they are the same for each flight.
Using new technologies can help you shave minutes off turnaround times. For instance, with AI technology from Synaptic Aviation, you can track ramp activity and revisit video recordings to help your personnel learn from mistakes.