September 30, 2017

How are the Airplanes Evaluated?

When evaluating a plane, many different features are considered.

Some of these features are technical and the other part is operational.

We detailed the technical related part in our previous article here

We can also collect operational issues under the following titles;

The cargo and the passenger capacity (payload)

It must be evaluated against the target market. Certain limits will have to be determined according to the characteristics of the passengers to fly, the facilities to be provided, the expectations of the passengers and the conditions of competition. The rate of payload compare to the total take-off weight of the aircraft, defines the income figure of an airplane. The more the payload is, the more profit can be obtained. It is vital that payload is the only item that makes an airline’s income.

Cabin layout (business, economy, etc.)

The details such as how many class and seats will be put, the features and the legroomof the seats, the toilet and kitchen equipment, cabin decoration, lighting, catering and entertainment systems are all included in this title. Since it directly affects the amount of payload, it is one of the items that will completely change the income and expense balances of the business and therefore it needs to be evaluated and arranged very well.

The longest distance it can fly (range)

Of course, the destinations on which the aircraft is intended to operate are predetermined. It must be calculated that the plane can cover the distances between these destinations. Otherwise, the company will have to sacrifice the money from the profit. The range can be extended by installing additional fuel tanks to the aircraft, but since the additional fuel also means the additional weight, it must be ensured that the corresponding increase meets expectations. It is a title that should be evaluated very well in technical terms.

Flight speed

Speed is also very important. Slow flying planes take the same distance longer. As the duration of the flights expands, the number of daily flights decreases, which means loss of profits. This loss is reflected in the ticket price and the competitiveness of the company falls. Keeping travel times as short as possible, ie flying fast, will be beneficial for both the passenger and the company. Today, the same kind of aircraft (turboprop, turbofan) fly within their own kinds at close speeds. However, especially at longer distances, aircraft flying at a slightly faster rate, when evaluated by the total number of flights per year is always more profitable.

Fuel consumption

Fuel consumption is directly related to speed and load. Going fast can be advantageous while reducing profitability by causing excessive fuel consumption. Of course, the ideal is to consume less fuel while you can go faster. Airline performance departments concentrate on this issue and try to achieve the most productive balance.

Runway dimensions required for take-off and landing

High passenger capacity and long-range planes require longer runs to reach the take-off speed. Likewise, the braking distances during landing are also longer. Apart from this, the pressure of the first touch down during landing can be very high, so they can only land on very durable runways. Because of these requirements, they can not fly to airports with short or narrow runways. Medium-range planes can take-off and land on relatively small runways, however their range is a bit shorter. Airplanes that can take-off and land on very small runways are light but cannot carry too many loads and passengers. The choice of airplanes is based on these criteria.

Altitude of airports

As you climb up in the atmosphere, the air got thinner. Thin air causes power loss as airplane engines provide power by pushing air. This extends the take-off distance. The same plane takes off in longer distance on high altitude airports. As runway lengths are limited, altitude becomes a limiting factor. This will also need to be evaluated separately.

Number of active similar aircraft

The more active a flight is from a distance, the easier and widespread service network is. The services of very few manufactured or very few aircraft will be difficult. In the same way, the requirements such as maintenance and repair possibilities, pilot and technician presence will be restricted. Airplanes that are in common use, and preferably still in production, will always be more useful.

Training and licenses of flight crew and maintenance team

If pilots require extra training or technicians need to renew their licenses to operate a new airplane, this airplane will not be preferred by companies. All pilots want to use the aircraft with the minimum difference training, if possible, without any additional training. This situation is also a consideration that should be considered in terms of pilot planning of the company that will fly the plane. The same is true for technicians who will perform aircraft maintenance, and the issue must be evaluated together.

Ground handling (loading, unloading, fuel & water servicing etc.)

On each airplane arrival, it is requested that the passengers and the load within them be evacuated as soon as possible, that the inside and outside of the aircraft can be easily cleaned and that the new loads and passengers arriving at the plane should be placed on the plane as soon as possible. These long-lasting arrangements make aircraft have to wait for long periods of time between flights. This is not preferable because it will extend the total travel times. The sooner an aircraft becomes ready for the next flight right after landing, the more preferred it is.

Ease of maintenance and cost

Maintenance is also inevitable. Airplanes that need frequent and / or intensive care will lose their flight times and will lead to loss of income. On top of that, if its maintenance costs are high, then it really becomes unpreferable. The aircraft that can be serviced relatively cheap and require minimal maintenance is the ideal aircraft for this title.

There are surely other criteria besides these titles. Other headings that may be taken into consideration may be included in any of these headings. As can be understood, the evaluation of aircraft is often subject to evaluation by a particular committee, as it involves many different expertise. Therefore, for a successful operation, a successful committee is inevitable.