Two of our favorite subjects (airports and lean thinking) were combined in a blog post entitled, Saying Goodbye To Long Waits At The Airport. While not all long waits are solved, one of the key ones, being #23 for take-off while your plane waits on the tarmac, apparently is being solved with one of the simple Lean Thinking concepts … reducing batch sizes.
U.S. Airports have simply allowed airlines to use an ‘as ready’ approach to queing for take-off. That is, when you are ready, get in line. This promoted a get off the gate and get in line approach which wastes fuel and frustrates passengers. In contrast the Europeans use a “booking” system where actual take-off times are reserved. The FAA has gone to new software that allows:
Airlines to file flight plans with the Federal Aviation Administration indicating what time they want to take off. A metering program compiles requests, and takeoffs are scheduled in 15-minute blocks of time. Airplanes don’t leave the gate until their assigned time. And as a result, the conga line of 40 jets lined up at the end of a runway has been reduced to six to eight.
Lean Thinking at its best. Now if we can just work on some of the other issues airlines perpetrate.