2 min read

Airlines optimize operational efficiency and increase the speed and precision of their planning and budgeting with Anaplan


The platform for orchestrating performance.

Anyone with a desire to visit the UK should seriously think about going now. Why? Before June 23, 2016, USD$100 would have bought you just over UK£68. Then UK citizens voted on whether to leave the European Union (#Brexit), and the pound sterling dropped precipitously—as of this writing, you’ll get only £75 for USD$100—giving you an immediate savings of 10 percent.

While it’s a great opportunity for travelers to the UK, it will undoubtedly be a challenge for airline operators if they need to juggle their existing schedules to ramp up capacity to meet new demand on their trans-Atlantic routes. Still, it’ll be a win-win situation for them since they get more revenue at the same time because the improved exchange rate gives them savings on input costs incurred at UK airports.

The challenge of planning airline operations

Running an airline is a complex business. Many carriers have multiple brands and alliance partnerships that plan, schedule, and track thousands of flights a day. In order to spot emerging trends to keep flights and schedules in step with fluctuations, airlines need to do detailed planning as operational capacity needs change at hundreds of airports globally—and that typically means redeploying staff, the largest element of controllable cost.

Traditional planning systems designed to support annual budgeting do not provide the speed or flexibility airline carriers need today to predict the unpredictable. Spreadsheets are also incapable of manipulating the billions of transactions acros multiple dimensional data combinations encountered in operational planning and budgeting for airlines. Another complication is that spreadsheets and siloed planning point solutions preclude the collaboration that is required when planners are distributed around the globe.

The benefits of smart planning with Anaplan

These are some of the reasons why an increasing number of airlines are adopting Anaplan for enterprise planning. In addition to speed, precision, and collaboration, airlines are gaining numerous other benefits:

  • Model builders can quickly amend Anaplan models to keep them aligned with an ever-changing operations network at their airlines. New model versions that used to take a month or more to produce in spreadsheets are now being produced in a matter of days in Anaplan.
  • Flexible, real-time, “what-if” scenarios allow airline managers to rapidly view data by different dimensions and to quickly shift between currencies to see how fluctuations in exchange rates (like the recent rise of the dollar against sterling) impact corporate results.
  • Airline carriers have also seen accuracy improvements in their financial forecasts due to better linkage with operational plans on the Anaplan platform, which allows them to give better earnings guidance to their investors.

In fast-moving sectors such as airline travel, it is imperative finance provides a planning and budgeting platform that facilitates insight at the same speed with which managers need to make decisions—and today, that means real time. Persisting legacy systems fail to deliver speed, precision, and collaboration and thus, hamper productivity and compromise competitiveness.

To further understand what Anaplan can do for the airline industry, read our airline industry case study, which highlights planning transformation stories, or hear it directly from United Airlines as they share how they have optimized performance through proper changes in forecasting, and now can do driver-based modeling and variance reporting in Anaplan.