Optimizing an Entire Seaplane Fleet Network

Trans Maldivian Airways

20%

Savings​

3-5%

Improvement in flight time

2500

Daily passengers served

Overview

Trans Maldivian Airways (TMA) operates world’s largest luxury seaplane fleet and serves over 2,500 passengers every day through regular and charter flights. TMA has a very unique way of operating, with a very high level of service. Unlike major airlines, it publishes new schedules every day, depending on the demand from the over 70 resorts that it services currently.
Transmaldavian-case-study

Business Problem

Trans Maldivian Airways needs to get its passengers to and from island luxury resorts according to passengers’ international flight arrival and departure times. The client required a daily schedule that had to be optimized for multiple objectives, such as flying time, passenger convenience and load factor. Each KPI has a cost associated with it. For example, it is crucial that passengers catch their return flights. If they miss their connection, TMA must pay a penalty. The scheduling gets even more complicated since there is no option to leave a passenger behind, but the number of resources (for example, the crew or aircraft) are limited.

Our Approach

We worked closely with the client during the three-month pilot period, where we understood the problem in detail, digitized and cleaned up the scheduling data and modeled it mathematically. We made sure the optimization models were flexible enough to honor several practical business constraints. For example, by contract, since the client has to offer premium services to certain high-end resorts, the model had to be flexible enough to model this constraint, while ensuring that the service levels for other resorts and other KPIs were also optimized. We blended Optym’s decades of experience in building systems based on optimization intelligence with advanced data visualization techniques to design a planning system that could capture several decades of tribal knowledge that existed with planners and optimize on top of it. In a short period of 6-7 months, the optimization system evolved from an incremental optimizer to a full-blown clean sheet schedule creation engine. After a planned cycle of user acceptance tests, the system was accepted by the planning team and is creating value for the client daily.

Key Benefits

  1. Considerably less time spent on clean sheet planning. According to the client, the engine now produces very high-quality schedules.
  2. Greatly improved load factors and passenger convenience in the first-cut scheduling stage.
  3. The client’s teams feel better equipped to provide higher service levels in the peak season, since they can now focus more on the quality of the schedule, rather than only focusing on manual optimization.

Results

TMA noted a 3-5% improvement in flight time and an uplift in passenger convenience in its schedules. The planning cycle shortened from two days to within a day. Shubham Moondhara, Corporate Strategy and Business Development, TMA, remarked: “In a short period of time, the Optym team was able to grasp the nitty-gritty of the planning process and capture it well in the algorithms developed as part of the system. It is very noteworthy how well they managed the stakeholders and were always proactive in their responses whenever the team had an issue. I am happy to see that Optym team has truly become an extension of our planning team, and the support they provide is really commendable.”