Profit-optimized flight simulator planning at Lufthansa
ORCONOMY GmbH has successfully developed an IT-assisted scenario-based training planning system for the optimized allotment of cockpit simulator capacities. After the successful conception of OR|Analysis and OR|Model phase including a feasibility study, system development was completed on the basis of >OPTANO. The early inclusion of the key users in this process allowed developers to create a user interface that fully matches the specifications and includes a highly efficient optimization core. The project was realized on time and on budget in close cooperation between ORCONOMY and the customer and all quality gates were achieved.
Lufthansa Flight Training (LFT) GmbH is a 100% subsidiary of Deutsche Lufthansa AG. It concentrates more than 50 years of experience in the training and further training of cockpit and cabin crews, making it one of the leading providers of training services for airlines worldwide. At present, more than 150 airlines from all over the world are training with the LFT Group at five locations.
Approx. 45 cockpit simulators are available for training at five locations - full-flight simulators as well as flat-panel training systems. They are divided up into 13 simulator families and a total of 23 simulator groups using similar training apparatus. The simulators are available 24/7.
Simulator capacity planning is an extremely complex task as it is subject to a large number of input parameters, lateral dependencies and training restrictions. In addition, the market is characterized by overcapacities, so that customer-oriented training planning is important for long-term customer loyalty.
The airlines book training sessions that vary according to hard and soft parameters with regard to training sequences and times. For example, there should be a rest period of 16 to 24 hours between training sessions for a pilot crew – and on no account should it be less than 16 hours or more than 24. Also, it is ideal for the customer if this rest period has a length of exactly 20 hours. The additional conditions resulting from this are termed “hard” (16 - 24 hours) and “soft” (20 hours). Then there are additional requirements that depend on the individual customer, such as weekday preferences.
Long-term training planning is usually carried out three months in advance. Depending on the type of fleet involved, it comprises up to half a dozen simulators working simultaneously at various different locations. Tailor-made planning used to keep planners busy for several days. However, it required a great deal of additional work to find out how good the solution met all soft requirements.
As part of the project, an IT-assisted scenario-based training planning system for the optimum allotment of cockpit simulator capacities was developed. The optimum allotment of capacities is determined on the basis of the training requirements of the customer and the profits that can be achieved. The tool supports long-term training planning while taking the required training volumes, the capacities, the hit quota of the customer restrictions and the optimum profit into account.
Implementation was carried out according to the >ORCONOMY procedure and was on time, on budget and achieved all quality gates. Project management and the training courses were also carried out by ORCONOMY experts.
The principal successful projects include the following:
- Integrated optimization tool with an easy-to-operate interface
- Profit-optimized planning of all simulator capacities
- Increased utilization of simulator capacities
- Automatic compliance with all training restrictions
- Reduction of the effort required for monthly scenario planning
- Improvement of the process quality
- Improved flow of information between employees
- Transparent calculation of key figures