With COVID-19 and ever-changing geopolitical landscapes affecting most aspects of daily life, aircraft operators are carefully evaluating the best strategy to ensure their flight planning teams and partners can meet the needs of travellers preparing to travel again.

As operators seek to find the right balance of service and cost, they must carefully reflect on whether an in-house team or an outsourced provider can provide the best experience when seeking to operate critical routes. Before making a decision, it’s perhaps best to begin by considering what a flight planning team has to offer.

Unnoticed, but Essential to the Operation

While essential to the operation, flight planning is a function that often goes unnoticed by customers. Long before flights take to the skies, flight planning teams are analysing notices to airmen (NOTAMs), trip distance, aircraft availability and even airport operating hours.

This is in addition to monitoring strikes by air traffic controllers, such as those that plagued French airspace in 2010. Many of these factors can change by the day, as aircraft require ongoing maintenance and airports must attempt to meet the needs of both large and small carriers.

Getting closer to departure, flight planning is often responsible for arranging fuel and flight permits. Between countries, fuel prices can increase exponentially driven by local supply and demand. In addition, while some countries like the US charge a fuel tax, the UK and the rest of the European Union does not.

When operators don’t take these types of charges into account, it can dramatically increase the cost of a flight. Similar to taxes, landing permits are different for most countries and require their own forms. Some even require permits for overflying their  respective nation. While the costs of the permits may not always be significant, the penalties for attempting to land somewhere without a permit certainly are. 

Building the Right Team

For some aircraft operators that have decades of experience in aviation working across the globe, having an in-house flight planning team can be considered a competitive advantage and worth having. In order to build a high performing flight planning team, it’s critical that operators are able to utilize their own experts that can build relationships with airports and national aviation authorities.

However, not all operators have the time or money required to build a full-fledged planning team. 

Thankfully, outsourced partners can play a critical role in fulfilling the same duties as an in-house team at a competitive rate.

In addition, given that many outsourced flight planning teams work with operators across the globe, they are regularly exposed to and well versed in working with a wide variety of aeroplanes, airports and national aviation authorities.

This also affords operators the time to focus on other critical tasks such as customer service, scheduling pilots and flight crew and more. 

Bottom Line

Ultimately, every aircraft operator has to make their own decision on flight planning based on their own areas of expertise. Whether an operator decides to utilize an in-house team or utilize a third party, flight planning will remain a critical function of aviation for the years to come. 


Feel free to contact our team here at Flightworx today for advice on flight planning and aviation fuel supply.

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