Sunday, July 19, 2015

Seat / Range: Measuring A Hidden Airline Capabililty

The Seat Range is a combination of many factors. Starting with the most influential affect, the airline payload weight. Most 777-300-ER's are constrained by how far it can travel, and how many people can it seat for that distance. The 777-300-ER is champion on that mater. Weight and distance are the underlying factors for finding the airline loads with maximum efficiency. Then comes the ticket price off that number of seats sold on a particular route. All routes are not equal on ticket prices. All passenger loads are not equal on routes.

The problems are enumerated by these simple factors:

·                Fuel Load
·                Passenger Load
·                Direction
·                Distance

Longer routes have an exponential growth of fuel loads. This insidious weight factor becomes exponential for every mile traveled. For every pound of fuel loaded, it needs more pounds of fuel to carry its own base fuel load as needed for the journey. The regression analysis is required within this formula as the weight diminishes for every mile traveled. The aircraft will need less fuel during the 2nd half of the journey, than it required during the first half or during its take-off. Fuel weight is burned off at a higher rate at the start. Call this formula #1. 

This is a function of diminishing weight variable. (d)

The passenger load is dead weight staying constant throughout the flight. It can be formulated for every pound of associated passenger weight (luggage, passenger, and airline services/supplies). This also determines how much fuel it will need loaded from the fuel required formulation, going on the stated route and distance? It is a simpler formula #2, for the math minded analyst. However, that constant dead weight is added into the exponential formula for its over-all fuel requirement using a regression based formulation. 

This is called a function of constant Weight (w).

The fuel line on a graph will have a downward swooping graphic from its start, demonstrating first fuel load weight burn-off during take-off, and then the fuel consumption curves gradually until it will flatten out on the graph slope before its landing, representing the fuel is expended during the trip at a diminishing rate conserving an  intact fuel reserve. An optimized fuel load represents pounds of fuel required for safely making the distance given all the factors.

Direction is important as trip East bound from Australia to the US burns a different amount of fuel than its return trip West Bound back to Australia from the US. The seat capacity for airplane types is mostly constant number for long thin routes. Seats are what an Airline controls in the variable formulation as what it would be choosing for its best choice of airplane manufacturer considering its own routes and seats. 

It’s all about wind drag at this point contained in formula #3. (h) coefficient for heading.  

Then it becomes the  Lift & drag coefficients applied considering resistance variables according to its speed requirement and FL,  when applying factors against its opposing forces (such as: wind direction and atmosphere density per ceiling FL). 

Finally, distance is the most import aspect of the airline strategy. Getting your paying customer to the location they want in high numbers for its Airline financial reward. First you need the aircraft capable of doing that for the smallest costs while giving customers the most competitive ticket price offered. Aircraft Weight and Heading, affects the distance traveled for the passengers, this requires a formula #4. 

Range is the variable (r) solution based on all other functions of (d) variable, (w) fixed, and (h) variable.

ANA fixed its 787-8 seat numbers with under 200 seats and eight across seating. It sells its 787-8 seats as the most comfortable airplane of its type. Good move ANA! When in fact it looked at its routes, direction, and fuel prices, during this time before conducting its Boeing discussions and ordering, it probably had not thought about its over-all passenger comfort first, since it needed to apply its long routes to the ANA travel model first, it then could propose how to configure its 787-8 with passengers. The seating step was an out growth of optimization with the 787-8 abilities in 2007. 

ANA crunched its numbers in a varying degrees of optimization. They were the first customer, and had no competition for the 787-8, and it was about to order. ANA provided no showmanship through placing 334 seats on the 787 -8, as Jet Star has done with its 787-8 order. They shot for the sweet spot of 186 seats on the 787-8, and then advertised how comfortable the 787-8 would be. Perhaps ANA may opt in the next round of 787 orders by going with a configuration of 330 seats on its next batch of 787's ordered. It would complete its first contemplation it had for the 787-300 of a regional people mover.

Now comes market maturity for the 787 family where some buyers of the 787-9 are going with 216 seats, BA is the customer example in mind, while other airlines are stuffing the 787, as if it were a passenger buffet in the Jet way.   

Boeing 777-300-ER in PA's Livery

Philippines Airlines (PA) is considering the 787 family or having the A-350 as its only WB child at this time. Yes, it has a step child called A-330 NEO (Range?) for offering on PA's regional routes. The big question is who will win the order, Boeing or Airbus? PA wants to replace its aging fleet of six A-340, as it would have a leg up over Boeing since it’s an Airbus replacement. However, PA also owns 6, 777 300-ER’s. Giving Boeing back a leg up over Airbus for that consideration. The A-350-1000 doesn't compete with the 777X. The 787-10 could easily fly PA's routes to North America, and may not need any additional seat number adjustments when configuring a Boeing product for the range proposed. Boeing is competing against the A-350-1000, as its expectation from any Airbus offer. This is truly a key decision, for best fit that an airline needs for the direction they want to head. And yeah, PA is looking for a giveaway price.

One rule of economics, is having a finite resource directs a price variability (supply) during demand periods. The fuel price is the critical variable going forward from having fuel as a finite amount, Even though the economic engines of the world are in a constant hunt for alternative fuels, oils and better technology. The end of cheap motive power for the airplane jet engine is in sight. However, a Boeing silver bullet has emerged from the "efficient" operative word. It's up to Boeing Marketing to make it more "effective" in the market place.

The PA dilemma is choosing what will be the most efficient for its own purpose of competing, and satisfying its customers. Boeing puts a premium on its techno efficiency, and Airbus covers its own short falls against Boeing, with a slant on size and opulence, as its only and main talking values. Manufacturer separation will occur when operational and fuel resources tighten. Boeing is positioned well for natural economic rule of supply and demand when fuel markets return to its former levels of expense. When would PA get its fleet renewal airplanes, is the important question, for which becomes a sensitive fuel price or operational expense confinement at that time?

Using the top four bullet points in PA's decision making process, they must consider the direction they want to go in first. The fuel burn points becomes a constant, while the direction the company needs to travel, becomes its primary decision point. The weight factor constantly drags the airplane down on the route chart. Does PA go with the ANA model or the Jet Star model? As always, its somewhere in between. I believe it will be the 787-10 for six ordered and the 777X model for six. 

The A-330-NEO doesn't have its distance chops when PA aspires towards more North American routes and its winds. Hang in there 787-8, PA is looking. 
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Winging It needs to go on a tangent. Making sense out of useless factors.

Number of seats= n
Distance Traveled=nm or (k)
Fuel Required per seat (f)
Load Factor (.85)

Word problem: If airline X needs to go from Manilla to LA it will need 35,000 gallons to fly 280 (nth) passengers. What is the gallon to passenger relationship using these conditions.

It would take 125 gallons for each passenger to get to LA The fuel bill for each passenger is $3.19 US per gallon x's $125= $399 US. A direct fuel cost is represented in the airline ticket price. However, it gets complicated rapidly after that. 

If the load Factor (L) is @ .85 on a given day for passengers. (.85 X's 280P = 235(P)) passengers ticketed on average for its route. The load factor (w) is reduced as will the (d) fuel load will be reduced. But by how much? That is the manufacturer's talking point through its marketing teams presentations. The .85 passenger load factor is pretty much standard number for most airlines. If it goes below .79 then the airline starts to bleed profits out. 

The fuel load requirements become a direct calculation on a fixed passenger weight established with its modeling aspects from airline's own calculations. The computer optimizes fuel load and weights instantly as you stand in-line checking in for a ticket. What an airline wants to know before buying its new aircraft are the proposed model's metrics found within its own operational scenarios or with its current direct competitors or potential future competitors. If a competitor operates Airbus equipment, Boeing must demonstrate how a potential customer will come out using real data from actual operational data without disclosing the source. let the Games begin with PA.