Dutch national carrier KLM is to improve the utilization of its flight simulator capacity at its Amsterdam base.

The airline has eight simulators, which can provide around 15,000 training sessions a year. To make best possible use of the simulators, KLM needs to minimize unused time, identify any extra capacity that can be rented out to other airlines if not needed by KLM, and improve the management of machine maintenance. Most maintenance is undertaken overnight.

Currently, KLM uses a combination of manual planning and a 1990s-vintage legacy system to plan its simulator usage. While this allocates slots on the simulators, it cannot take into account factors such as new collective labor agreement rules and differing session durations for external users.

To improve the situation, KLM has extended its existing relationship with Quintiq, a Dutch supply chain planning and optimization specialist and part of France’s Dassault Systèmes group.

Quintiq will create a simulator planning solution that will ensure that information on the level of demand for training is kept up-to-date and that any potential conflicts between the levels of supply and demand are recognized ahead of time and resolved.

“The combination of our crew planning system and this new simulator capacity optimizer, both developed by Quintiq, will enable us to maximize the use of our simulator capacity,” KLM’s VP-cockpit crew services Robert Kunen said.

“We can better match supply and demand, and predict constraints and opportunities in the longer term. As a result, we can facilitate crew training more efficiently.”

When the new system comes online, KLM planners will be able to allocate simulator time up to several years in advance, if necessary. However, they will also be able to adjust those long-term plans in the light of shorter-term changes in demand.

Alan Dron alandron@adepteditorial.com