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Information Contained (implicitly) in the Gantt chart

Besides the static appearance of the Gantt chart at first glance, using methods such as hovering over parts of the display, or ‘mouse-clicking’ at selected hotspots, produces additional information about a flight or series of flights. High on the list of information needed in a disruptive situation are details about passenger connections (tranships), both inbound connecting to a nominated flight, or outbound connecting/rom a flight. Figure 4.9 presents an example of an expanded set of passenger connections on the Gantt chart. Notably, connections to and from a specific flight can be displayed.

Representation of extended maintenance work

Figure 4.7 Representation of extended maintenance work

Representation of maintenance icon

Figure 4.8 Representation of maintenance icon

In addition, customer-recovery options can be displayed showing several flights on which disrupted customers can be accommodated.

In a similar vein, crew names, qualifications, connections, duty commitments perhaps with sign-on/sign-off times and maximum duty hours included (for both Technical Crew and Flight Attendants) can be displayed. Further exploration can reveal information such as names and numbers of specific connecting crew members and associated information. Figure 4.10 presents an example of an expanded set of crew connections on the Gantt chart.

Other information available to Controllers relates to aircraft configurations, passenger break-down by travel class (i.e., F, J, Y), fuel uplift and burn, and estimated flight time interval (FTI). If information is needed other than what appears on the Gantt chart, Operations Controllers can access other data sources or communicate with the appropriate personnel.

Design Features of the Gantt chart

Most Gantt displays incorporate a zooming function, enabling users to scrutinise a particular operation, or part thereof within a specific time- frame, which could be useful in disruption management. Alternatively, users may ‘zoom out’ if seeking a more complete overview of the flight commitments of several days. Depending on the size of the fleet, another important function is the ability to filter the display to capture event- specific information. For example, should a fog situation be highly disruptive in a particular port, filtering the display to capture operations through that port only for a specified time period would enable Controllers to ensure they had gathered a unique set of critical information and, importantly, not excluded anything. However, as mentioned in an earlier chapter, they need to have full oversight of the network so as not to unintentionally preclude the identification of related information. Given the extent of some fleets, extensive vertical scrolling may be needed to enable all the airline’s schedules to be observed readily. Similarly, the storage of several days’ schedules enables Controllers to

Depiction of customer connections

Figure 4.9 Depiction of customer connections

Depiction of crew connections scroll ahead

Figure 4.10 Depiction of crew connections scroll ahead (horizontally) to observe long-term pattern commitments, or perhaps to explore opportunities to address particular problems that can’t be resolved in the short term.

Dynamic Change in the Gantt chart

Recognition of time progression is indicated on the Gantt chart by a moving timeline. This is a vertical line coupled to the current time, from which Controllers can quickly ascertain the current status of the airline’s network of flights, as shown in Figure 4.11.

Flight status progression is indicated by changes to times, changes in colour and various alert functions that appear on or near the flight blocks. This advice is most likely informed through an aircraft’s ACARS system or other means as explained earlier. In addition, some system notifications may be sent directly to Controllers (e.g., a system-generated note/email). As a flight departs, some indication of the actual departure time will be presented by a change on the flight block, with the estimated

Gantt chart incorporating a timeline time of arrival

Figure 4.11 Gantt chart incorporating a timeline time of arrival (ETA) then updated at the end of the block. Should changes to the ETA be incurred during flight (e.g., caused by АТС, headwinds, tailwinds), other sources such as АТС or airline staff at ports can advise the IOC to ensure updates are made to the Gantt chart.

Manipulating the Gantt Chart

Of course, the power behind the Gantt chart is its ability to display the current status of the aircraft flight patterns such that current and future operations are clearly identifiable. Therefore, changes that are necessary due to some form of disruption or request, however minor, must be readily updatable. For example, a series of diversions due to a weather situation needs to be reflected promptly on the Gantt chart to enable observers to gain a fresh insight into the changed circumstances and take into account any impact on their own workplace.

Another important feature is the ability for the IOC to conduct Svhat-if’ scenarios for the purpose of testing decision strategies for workability, and/or proposing solutions to other areas such as the Crewing functions to assist them in envisaging the implications of any change. Controllers can physically manipulate the Gantt chart by selecting, dragging and dropping flight blocks using a combination of mouse and keyboard selections. Changing the display in this way not only updates the aircraft patterns, but also serves to alert the user of any planned commitments for aircraft such as maintenance work should, for example, a long ground time period or an end of day base be disrupted.

 
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