EBACE Convention News

Site helps smooth Euro flight plans

 - May 12, 2009, 8:32 AM

Because operators choosing to use a self-service flight planning system (FPS) face some significant challenges when flying in Europe, Universal Weather and Aviation (Booth No. 643) has developed UVflightplanner.com to leverage the local knowledge and hands-on experience of its London-based European Operations Centre (EOC) to actively manage every flight plan it files into Eurocontrol.

These challenges include scheduled route availability document (RAD) changes and other unscheduled route availability alterations such as changes by Eurocontrol due to airway closure, weather or congestion. According to Universal Weather, one challenge is the lag that exists between when RAD changes occur–scheduled or unscheduled–and when an FPS can update the information in its database. This means that any flight plan created by an FPS during this lag period and affected by a RAD change can get rejected by Eurocontrol. This forces the user to refile an amended flight plan, leading to loss of time, inconvenience of trying to figure out how to fix the flight plan and, in many cases, additional FPS usage charges.

Another challenge is that last-minute unscheduled route availability changes can invalidate a previously approved flight plan while the aircraft is already in the air. Since airways and airports in Europe have narrowly defined slots, any delay from rerouting will often lead to a cascading string of additional delays and costs.

Unfortunately, an FPS today does not have the ability to adjust for this and perform the corrective actions that a live flight follower would do–such as hold airway slots, adjust for ground delays and negotiate departure slots–to help ensure the aircraft stays on schedule.

When a UVflightplanner.com user files a flight plan for Europe, the EOC–operated by Universal Aviation (UK)–effectively becomes the user’s own personal scheduling department. This results in fewer delays, less frustration and overall cost savings for the user when a flight plan is impacted by changes.

Backed by Universal’s global resources as an international flight support provider, the EOC provides efficient and reliable service for Europe-based operators traveling within the continent and Russia, the company said. A 24/7 team trip ownership system, providing assistance with permits, handling, slot management, fuel and credit arrangements throughout the region, serves client needs.