Monday, 15 November 2010

Qantas rescheduling

After a recent "incident" in which an A380 airbus had to abort its flight, all the company's wide-bodied jets have been withdrawn. How does an airline deal with the the knock-on effect of this? They reschedule their flights and passengers. And, we, the public, see the results. Rescheduling has involved the downsizing of aircraft across all Qantas international routes.

Flagship routes to Los Angeles and London from Australia, usually operated by the super-jumbos, will now use older and smaller Boeing 747s, as will all other A380 flights. 100 passengers per flight who were bumped off have been transferred to other airlines.

The downsizing of shorter flights will continue with Boeing 747 flights to Hong Kong and Tokyo now using Airbus 330s, replaced on their normal routes such as Singapore to Perth with even older Boeing 767s. According to the airline, although it is committed to bringing its A380s back into service as early as possible, the new schedules give certainty to those travelling in the near future.

As the Qantas grounding drags on, fares on certain routes have been increased.

That's the public picture; behind this there must have been some complex modelling, which will be kept restricted. Maybe one day, some Qantas O.R. worker will tell us about the models that were hastily built and modified. If you have been involved with a large O.R. problem, then you can imagine what is involved. To replace aircraft A on flight A1 means substituting aircraft B. How many passengers will be lost? What will it cost? But aircraft B was assigned to flight B1 and needs to have a substitute, aircraft C. And so on. Then, the speeds of A, B and C are likely to be different, so there are further consequences.

Which passengers should be bumped? There will be data on the flying habits of the passengers, which can be used to help this. I suspect that the O.R. people at Qantas are busy doing their hidden science!

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