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U Pdate @ 0610 EST

The Airport Station Manager advises that LHK has landed safely. No emergency was declared and, consequently, no fire trucks or other vehicles attended. However, as expected, the aircraft did not have any nosewheel steering, so is currently disabled on the runway. Right now, a tug is approaching the aircraft to tow it into the bay. Once on stand, the Engineers will begin to look at it.

Update @ 0620 EST

In the IOC, the Duty Controller has received a SATCOM call from the crew of Flight 8 LHL en route LAX-FRA. The flight crew on this aircraft is a ‘heavy crew’ consisting of a Captain, Senior First Officer and two Second Officers. The First Officer has called to advise that the Captain has had a medical event during the flight and has been rendered incapacitated. Accordingly, he has been moved to the crew rest facility for the remainder of the flight. As a result, the First Officer is remaining in the left seat in the cockpit, and has taken command of the flight (i.e., has assumed the role of Pilot in Command). As they are currently flying over UK airspace and with 150 minutes still to be flown to FRA, he has decided to divert the aircraft into LHR, and accordingly notified АТС by calling a PAN-PAN alert and also requested a priority landing. АТС have advised that the ETA of the aircraft into LHR is 0700. These changes are shown in Figure 8.4 opposite.

The diversion into LHR is the highest priority. With a diminished technical crew, the safety and operation of the aircraft is of paramount importance. So, the IOC will need to know what arrangements are being made on the ground in LHR for the landing and then what medical assistance will be organised to assist the Captain. Crewing will take care of this aspect, but the IOC Duty Manager will need full awareness of all arrangements being undertaken. Again, social media input in the IOC will be invaluable due to the unscheduled diversion, no matter what customers on board may be informed by the Operating Pilots and Senior Cabin Crew. Similarly, there would be considerable company communication to be disseminated not only to fleet management but senior company management as well.

Although LHR is an operating port for the airline, it is not a crewing base for either type of aircraft operated. Thus, the thought is for rescuing the aircraft by ascertaining the first available (wide-body licensed) crew to bring the aircraft on to FRA as soon as possible. The aircraft has 324 customers, and the IOC doesn’t want it stuck in LHR. Clearly, the Captain can’t continue, but the question would be asked of both Crewing functions - can the rest of the crew continue within duty time if another Captain were available to bring the aircraft on? Primarily, is there another Captain in LHR? If not, where would the nearest Captain be? If there was none close by at all, the nearest is likely to be in FRA. However, finding then dead-heading a Captain from FRA will take quite a while and could not be achieved in time for the other crew members to continue duty, so a complete crew (Technical and Flight Attendant) would be required. Clearly, this would delay the continuation of Flight 8 considerably more.

Crewing advise that there is a Captain in LHR who has been undergoing simulator training in LHR and who is rostered to dead-head this afternoon on Flight 24 (LHL) at 1450. She is legal to fly (e.g., has duty time available and has not consumed alcohol for at least eight hours), and, because Flight 8 has a heavy crew, she can join the existing complement provided the three original technical crew do not exceed their ToD limitations. Crewing have contacted her and expect her to sign on at 1000. Both Pilot and Cabin Crewing sections have by now spoken with their respective inbound crews, and confirm that all crew members can continue to FRA.

With the relief Captain signing on at 1000 in LHR, the aircraft, once on the ground, can be pre-loaded, fuelled and otherwise be ready to go, just requiring the new Captain’s final approval. So, the IOC can work on a 1030 departure from LHR. The Controllers then have to reconcile the rest of the aircraft’s pattern for the day. The continuation of the flight would arrive FRA at 1205, but the aircraft is currently committed for Flights 23/24 FRA-LHR-FRA (using LHL). There is no other wide- body aircraft available in FRA at the same time, but a scan of the Gantt chart reveals some narrow-body aircraft availability. The loadings on both of these flights exceed the capacity of the narrow-body aircraft type, but staying with LHL would mean delaying a total of 487 customers about two hours, whereas a number of narrow-body aircraft could actually be used (by swapping patterns around) to operate 23/24 on time. In consultation with Crewing, Commercial (CJM), and the Duty Station Managers at both FRA and LHR, a plan to interchange wide-body and narrow-body aircraft can be proposed, such that all flights operate on or very close to schedule.

The plan to resolve the delays could be as follows:

  • a) Flights 23/24 FRA-LHR-FRA are downgraded to a narrow-body aircraft. The overbookings (over the 200 seats on the narrow-body aircraft) would be accommodated on 25/26 (see (b) below).
  • b) Flights 25/26 FRA-LHR-FRA are upgraded to a wide-body aircraft (using LHL).
  • c) Several narrow-body patterns are swapped to utilise the ground times. Basically, by using the first aircraft in to operate the first flight out around the 1130-1240 times, all flights can operate to schedule.
  • d) The only downside is that the overbooked customers on Flight 23 (21 customers) now travel on Flight 25, four hours late, and 66 customers originally booked on Flight 24 now travel on Flight 26, four hours late.

The changes to incorporate this appear as Figure 8.5 overleaf.

However, the plan is incomplete. At the bottom of Figure 8.5, are two flights unallocated to any aircraft. These are Flights 44/45 FRA- CDG-FRA. Notably, customers would be completely oblivious to this detail. Customers booked on 44/45 would still be expecting to fly as per their booking as no indication of any other arrangement will have been made or advised to them. Leaving the aircraft unallocated is an internal airline situation and the IOC members and other stakeholders (e.g., airport staff) will be fully aware that further changes need to occur at some point. In addition, no gate would necessarily be known at this stage either. There are a number of options for these flights as shown below:

  • a) SHX arrives FRA at 1400 and could operate 44/45 delayed about 45 minutes each flight.
  • b) By swapping patterns again, SHU could operate 44/45 delayed about 15 minutes each and SHX could operate 72/73 (with a small delay on 72 only, due to the long turnaround time in DUB).
  • c) Maintenance could be monitored throughout the day to establish if SHZ (undergoing the AD) is likely to be available for flying earlier than expected. This may be possible perhaps by increasing manpower on the work to be performed, or ascertaining if any of the work can be deferred until that night or another appropriate time. If SHZ were to operate 44/45, the aircraft could be positioned overnight in FRA for that work (by using any of SHS, SHW or SHY to operate 93 to 1ST). The point is that there are options, and the IOC is bound to explore any possible ways to maintain schedule integrity.
Multi-engineering - solution d) In any event, a delay would not be set on 44/45, either for this reason or in the likelihood that later disruptions may make delaying these now, pointless

Figure 8.5 Multi-engineering - solution d) In any event, a delay would not be set on 44/45, either for this reason or in the likelihood that later disruptions may make delaying these now, pointless.

The key elements of the scenario are then really complete. The plan for LHK either becoming serviceable for a departure within an hour of schedule or having to operate later has been conceived, so the situation becomes a ‘wait and see’. The adjustments for SHU and SHX have also been determined. Other than a significant change in any of these, the flights would operate largely as shown in Figure 8.5 opposite.

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