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On March 11, 2020

Choose your eco-flying software: the 6 questions to ask yourself before you start

 

The airline industry is facing a growing challenge: how to fight climate change and move towards a more sustainable way to operate the aircraft. On top of these environmental concerns, fuel continues to represent the largest share of the airlines operating costs.

Hopefully, there are multiple solutions to face both of these challenges.

Selecting eco-flying software is a good step to go. Innovative technologies such as Big Data and Artificial Intelligence are key enablers to help airlines flying more efficiently and becoming leaders in environmental excellence.

This article provides insights on the six questions you should ask yourself when selecting your eco-flying solution.

1. What are the most important goals for my company?

The very first step consists of listing the main objectives that your company wants to reach by implementing a Fuel Efficiency solution. From reducing the airline’s fuel costs to strengthen the company’s environmental reputation, benefits brought by an eco-flying software can be versatile, and the solutions on the market are multiple. That’s why it is important to stress a list of the main company’s goals to select the most relevant eco-flying solution that will help your airline to answer its needs and achieve its objectives.

Here are some examples of goals from other companies that have been there:

  • Reduce fuel consumption and the related fuel costs by 2%.
  • Measure and monitor precisely the level of application of the best practices that are part of my company’s Standard Operating Procedures.
    As Lord Kelvin said: “You cannot improve what you cannot measure.” So it is critical to measure with high accuracy the performance of your Fuel Efficiency Program.
  • Improve and ease the flight data collection and integration process.
    Exploiting data and turning it into relevant information is probably one of the main challenges when you set up a fuel efficiency program.
  • Analyze the performance of my fleet and compare the efficiency of each aircraft type (e.g. NEOs vs. CEOs).
  • Involve the pilots’ community in this Fuel Efficiency Program.
    The more you engage your pilots, the more substantial your fuel savings will be.
    Learn more about how to better engage your pilots 
  • Monitor and reduce the CO2 emissions and build the required reports for EU ETS or CORSIA regulation automatically.
    Learn more information about CORSIA
  • Strengthen the green reputation and public image of my company.
    Today, more and more people are conscious of climate change and the challenges that must be overcome by the aviation industry. Showing your contribution to fly greener is a real asset and competitive advantage for your airline.

2. Who is going to benefit from this eco-flying software? How?

There are many stakeholders to involve in a Fuel Efficiency Program. From Flight Ops to Top Management, Dispatch to Pilots, or even Maintenance and Engineering, an eco-flying solution can bring benefits to many different areas of an airline.

Dispatchers choose how much fuel will be needed for the flight, but pilots are allowed to add some discretionary fuel and are the ones using it. Finance negotiates prices on the fuel tender and Engineering and Maintenance actions also affect fuel consumption.

That is why you should select an eco-flying solution that can answer the needs of all the stakeholders of your company:

  • Top Management: they will probably be looking at reducing fuel costs and increasing profit margin.
    Having automatic dashboards on the key KPIs of the airline’s operations and the possibility to simulate fuel budget will be real assets to steer the company.
  • Head of Flight Ops/Chief Pilot: improving the overall flight operations performance is certainly the most important goal for the Head of Flight Ops or the Chief Pilot.
    An eco-flying solution that allows to identify precisely the fuel savings opportunities by monitoring the application of the best practices with the related achieved and potential savings will be highly valuable and a precious help.
  • Flight Ops Engineer: the Flight Ops engineer will be looking at quantifying with a deep accuracy the actual fuel savings to increase it further.
    Thanks to the automated data collection process of your eco-flying solution, the engineer will be able to
    transform the torrent of raw data that is captured from individual flights into actionable insights.
    An eco-flying solution providing a versatile Business Intelligence (BI) tool to build any report out of the box is of paramount importance to spread the fuel efficiency culture within the company.
  • Pilots: they aim at improving the efficiency and performance of their flights while complying with the airline’s best practices and policy.
    Empowering your pilots with a dedicated mobile application is a must to reach a successful Fuel Efficiency Program. Help your pilots by sharing an accurate and complete debriefing of their individual performance after each flight. Give them clues with a briefing analysis of the opportunities to reduce the fuel consumption during the next flight. Encourage them to keep doing better by identifying opportunities to improve their performance.

Learn more about how to build and efficient fuel management team

3. What is the return on investment of the eco-flying software?

The acquisition of eco-flying software often promises substantial fuel savings. Some providers will claim to save 2% of your fuel costs, other up to 5%, and sometimes you may hear even bigger figures.

Is it possible to estimate the potential savings my company could expect to reach? Even more important, what will be the return on investment (ROI) related to my new eco-flying software?

Before selecting a solution, be sure to build a strong business case to estimate both the potential fuel savings of your company and the ROI your new solution will bring. It will give you insights on what is at stake and some valuable arguments to select a solution from another.

Here is an interesting article that may help you have a first idea of the potential ROI you can expect to get.

4. What are the typical implementation plan and methodology?

The implementation project of a Fuel Efficiency Management System can be either long, painful and time consuming or, on the contrary, smooth, quick, and under control.

Before selecting an eco-flying solution, it is important to be aware of the timeline, the methodology, and the resources that you will face during the implementation of your selected eco-flying solution.

A clear and proven project management methodology, based on a staged approach delivery, is a must to ensure a smooth implementation and to avoid any delay or bad surprise. Local presence, as well as close cooperation between the airline and the provider, are essential to have a successful implementation project.

Before selecting your software, do not hesitate to ask for references and testimonials to make sure about the capabilities of your provider.

In addition to the above advice, here are three tips to consider before implementing eco-flying software:

  • Anticipate the data availability, especially for data from the Flight Data Recorders
  • Anticipate resources availability for the airline’s team: project manager, data experts, IT expert in authentication systems
  • Define a steering committee to take decisions and decide on new orientations in case of difficulties or delays

Get more insights on how to prepare for the implementation of an eco-flying solution

5. Is accuracy mandatory for fuel efficiency?

True business intelligence requires going beyond coarse statistics alone. That’s why you should use accurate computations using performance models, SOPs, and external factors, such as weather conditions and ATC procedures or restrictions.

Because their job is not a routine job, pilots know that each flight is different (weight, performance, weather, traffic, etc.), so should be their savings!

A statistical approach will be too limited when it comes to differentiate each single flight and provide accurate recommendations to your pilots. Computations that consider the actual flight conditions, with accurate and advanced performance models, are a must to convince them about the feasibility of their actions.

The more accurate the analysis and measures, the more trusted your recommendations will be among your pilots’ community.

Learn more why accuracy is essential to earn pilot’s trust

6. Will I be left alone with a piece of software in my hands?

Selecting an eco-flying software is one thing, but you must think long term and anticipate the next steps!

Let say, you have selected your Fuel Efficiency solution, and the implementation is over, now what’s next? How will you manage to benefit from the full power of your new eco-flying solution if you are left alone?

When selecting a Fuel Efficiency software, it is not only about the solution itself, but more importantly, about the training and support services that come along with it. Having a tailored onboarding will empower all your stakeholders and will allow them to get the best out of the software to reach your objectives.
You can have the best solution on the market; if you don’t use it properly, it will not yield as much efficiency as you could expect.

Be smart and anticipate the next moves: ask your provider with some references in terms of support, customer satisfaction (e.g. Net Promoter Score) or references, and testimonials from its existing customers.

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Selecting an eco-flying solution can appear to be difficult or a source of stress. Here are the six takeaways from this article that will make it a smooth and easy task for you:

  • First, define your goals and needs; it will filter in the solutions that can answer them.
  • Identify the relevant stakeholders for your project and be sure that the solution you select can be invaluable to all of them.
  • Then, try to estimate the return on investment that your solution can provide to your company. It will be key to know what is at stake and how much value your company can benefit from it.
  • Implementation of such a solution can be either long or efficient. In this kind of project, time means money, and at the end of the day, a longer implementation can result in a more expensive project.
  • Do you want to bring the best results to your company? Then, do not overlook the accuracy of your solution because when you talk to pilots, the more accurate your analysis is, the more trusted and used it will be.
  • Be smart and anticipate the next step! A solution itself will only be as powerful as the training, the support, and the guidance that come along with it.

 

 


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By Erik