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Managing Fleet Recoveries

Everybody wants to get back to normal; business travellers flying around the globe securing new contracts, holiday makers whizzing off to sunspots and families visiting friends and relatives. But before any progress can be made airlines need to get their aircraft back in the skies, not an easy task and one that has seen airlines adopt very different strategies.

Following The Data – as recommended by scientists and politicians around the world OAG tracked the flight status data for some of the major low-cost airlines in Europe. Over a one-week period all scheduled flights operated by Ryanair, easyJet, Wizz Air and Vueling tracked the number of aircraft that they operated (identified by aircraft registration number) and the number of minutes they were airborne.

From tracking the data, OAG noticed that different airlines appeared to have different approaches to how they were using their fleet. It seemed that one airline had returned a large proportion of their fleet to the skies of Europe but were using those aircraft for only a few hours a day whilst other carriers had returned fewer aircraft to the skies but were using them for longer hours each day. An interesting difference in approaches but what did the data reveal?

Image - Jac Osborne

The first thing to note is that Ryanair appear to have taken a very different approach to the other three carriers operating some 330 aircraft for at least one flight during the seven-day period analysed. Some of those aircraft were registered to subsidiary companies such as Malta Air but the airline appears to have operated twice as many aircraft as their closest rival and yet only flown for 31% more.

Wizz Air are the carrier working their aircraft the hardest with a daily average of 02:41, typically daily aircraft utilisation is in excess of twelve hours a day for low-cost carriers which just highlights how little capacity is being operated.