Welcome to GlobalAir.com | 888-236-4309    Please Register or Login
Aviation Articles
Home Aircraft For Sale  | Aviation Directory  |  Airport Resource  |   Blog  | My Flight Department
Aviation Articles

Have a Plan Ready!

by David Wyndham 1. April 2006 00:00
Share on Facebook

It seems like the news is full of lies, deceit and chicanery – and that's the financial section. Whether it is self-inflicted or based on a combination of bad luck, bad timing and bad planning, when a company's fortunes turn red, the flight department is an easy target for reductions. Of course, when times are good, we tend to overlook the cyclical nature of business and think things will keep on running smoothly.

There can be many reasons why the flight department is targeted for cutbacks. It could be that business is bad, or it could be that the new CEO is a fearful flier or thinks the plane is a money pit. If you have a plan for both good times and bad, and pay attention to the financial "NOTAMS" of your company, you may be able to adjust to the inevitable changes and sacrifices when required.If you don't have a plan, you are setting yourself up for failure.

If a pilot gets sick and can't fly, you have a plan. If there is an incident or accident at work, you have a plan. Regarding the financial fortunes of your parent company and how they will affect your flight department, you should also have a plan. This is called a strategic plan and it should cover three scenarios:

1. Status Quo – no change in the mission. Life is good and you need only plan on when and how to replace aircraft and what criteria you need to use. This is the best time to work on updating for contingencies as it will remind you not to be complacent.

2. Growth – new markets, expanding markets. Things are changing and the flight department is called to do more, fly more or take on a new mission. This can be an exciting time, but also a stressful time. Where do I hire new pilots/mechanics/cabin attendants? How many hours can each aircraft fly before we need to look at adding one more? Does our current aircraft really do this new job in the most cost effective and mission efficient manner? If you wait until you can't meet demand to look at what to do, you're too late.

3. Decline – budget cuts, maybe even layoffs. What is your most important mission? Least important? What if utilization drops off, what happens to your costs? If this occurs, you will face more stress than you think. But, if you know where the flight department's priorities are, you can be better prepared if cuts are inevitable. Know your costs, your missions, and your people.

One question that can come up is "Are we operating the best aircraft for the job?" A strategic plan addresses this question with the reasoning and justification as to why you fly the aircraft you do. It also ties into the company's mission statement.

We've worked on strategic plans like this for several companies. If you've never done one, it can seem like a daunting task. However, you just take it a piece at a time, get your data and if possible, get senior management t sign off on it. The pay off is in being able to better anticipate and adjust to changes without "shooting from the hip." Like the Scouts always say, be prepared.

If you have found yourself or your flight department in a similar experience please give us an idea of any hind site you might have or any thoughts as to how to prevent those red flags.

Tags: , , ,

David Wyndham


GlobalAir.com on Twitter