From: email@example.com (Ed Hahn) Organization: The MITRE Corporation, McLean, Va. Date: 06 Jul 94 00:52:21 References: 1
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In article <airliners.1994.1405@ohare.Chicago.COM> firstname.lastname@example.org (Grant C Lynde) writes: When is fuel dumping used? I understand that it may be necessary when a plane has to make an emergency landing. But is it ever used on a regular basis? And if so, wouldn't this become an environmental problem? ------- WRT fuel dumping, really the only time it is done is in abnormal situations, the majority of which are either: 1) A/C must return to the departure airport (or another closeby) after an equipment failure, and is heavier than Max Landing Weight, or: 2) A/C must make an emergency landing, and wants to minimize the intensity of a potential fire by getting rid of as much fuel as possible. Note that at least one accident, however, has been caused by the crew dumping TOO much fuel. It's an environmental, economic, and potential safety degradation whenever fuel must be dumped, so no one does it unless they are forced to. ------- Next question is this, and it applies more to the business side of airlines. Allegedly, one of the biggest problems facing the airline industryy in the US is over-capicity. But airlines, such as US Air, are asking for labor concessions to speed up turnaround time with the intention of increasing the number of flights between cities such as Pittsburgh and Philadelpia. So, if there is already overcapicity, and this is causing much difficulty within the airline industry, why are they taking steps to increase the number of seats flying at any given moment? ------- They are two sides of the same coin. The reasoning goes something like this: 1) We have too many airplanes. It costs us big bucks for each additional aircraft we operate. Therefore, let's reduce our aircraft overcapacity as much as possible. 2) We can't operate the airplanes we have left as efficiently as we'd like. Let's get these aircraft operating as efficiently as possible. Since we have only limited control over non-labor costs (fuel prices, maintenance check requirements), let's try and get a) the direct labor costs down, by cutting a deal with the pilots, flight attendants, and mechanics (unions), b) reducing the amount of time our airplanes are sitting on the ground not generating revenue, and c) by reducing overhead as much as possible, by cutting management staff, cutting back on facilities expenditures, and making the overhead operations run as efficiently as possible . 3) Furthermore, if we can identify a new source of revenue (such as cabin telephones, expanding services on a route which is profitable and does not currently have enough service, and by trying to guess whether you can generate greater total yield on some routes with a lower ticket price for that route (i.e. sales and price cuts)), perhaps we can get the revenue increase to take care of the shortfall in our operation. Arguably, the difference between success and failure is how the management decides to implement the changes. Unfortunately, because the market is extremely elastic, it's hard to predict exactly what the final outcome will be. (eg. people just won't fly for pleasure if overall ticket prices are too high, and passengers in general don't care which airline they fly, but instead look for the cheapest fare.) Because of this, there is the temptation to be very agressive with cost control and revenue enhancement, which may end up doing more harm than good. The above analysis is not intended to show the reasoning at any particular airline, but is just to show my take on the general issues facing airline management today. Any errors or fallacies in the above analysis are mine alone. ed //////// Ed Hahn | email@example.com | (703) 883-5988 \\\\\\\\ The above comment reflects the opinions of the author, and does not constitute endorsement or implied warranty by the MITRE Corporation. Really, I wouldn't kid you about a thing like this.