By Julie Vasquez, Airline Data Analytics Product Manager at Honeywell Connected Enterprise

Julie Vasquez

New Delhi. 10 December 2019. According the International Air Transport Association (IATA), India is forecasted to become one of the world’s largest aviation markets by 2034. For this to happen, Indian airlines need to continue to harness technology that helps them manage their bottom line, reducing the impact of unneeded spending on things that can be managed with today’s technology. One of the major impacts on an airline is the rising cost of fuel. Today, technology exists to help owners and operators better manage their aircraft or fleet’s efficiency.

With the current turmoil in the Indian aviation industry, there is a mismatch between the demand for air travel and capacity. This makes it challenging for airlines to deliver the high levels of service customers demand. For India’s commercial airlines, it is vital to provide an efficient and comfortable flight for passengers to make their experience enjoyable. To do so, airlines sometimes make decisions that end up costing more than they should. A classic example would be when airlines try to make up the time encountered during an unexpected delay. In order to do so, pilotssometimes alter their flight path or increase the amount of fuel burn to ensure passengers land on time, but the airline may be burning money along the way.

The ongoing fare war coupled with an increase in expenses like fuel prices, airport fees, maintenance charges and more, has created a particularly challenging environment for Indian airlines. The higher expenses airlines incurred are due to the increase in the price of jet fuel and weakening of the Indian rupee against the US dollar. While fuel cost is often the single largest cost for airlines, a weaker rupee renders to higher maintenance expenditure, increasing the amount of money operators spend on lease costs and interest payments on foreign currency-denominated loans. These costs account for over two-thirds of sales resulting in the deterioration of the financial performance of Indian airlines.

SpiceJet, one of the leading airlines in India, reported their losses during the second quarter of the current fiscal for over Rs 462.6 Crore as against losses of Rs 389.4 during the same period last year. This loss was mainly due to low passenger yields. Such losses can be offset with the help of the right software, that helps airlines analyze and leverage historical flight data to make better strategic decisions. These decisions include better flight routes, and take into consideration weather patterns, the time of day and approach patterns. Additionally, this data can be used by pilots to make tactical decisions in flight that will optimize their fuel usage.

During a flight, an enormous amount of data is generated – from distance travelled, to wind speed, to fuel consumption. By blending engineering and flight operations expertise with advanced statistical and machine-learning methods, Honeywell Aerospace is delivering an enhanced view for airlines, and in turn, helping to drive a new level of aerospace efficiency. Honeywell Forge Flight Efficiency software provides a better understanding of airlines’ fuel needs. Because of the Honeywell software, some airlines can achieve 2% to 5% annual fuel savings thanks to improved performance efficiency.

Technological advancements are enabling airlines to become more efficient, so that rising fuel costs put less pressure on airlines and passengers. Improvements in other areas, such as analytics, help in optimizing flight routes to reduce time in holding patterns around busy airports and ensure on-time arrivals.