[Interview] How SunExpress implemented its fuel efficiency solution to achieve better savings

    22 Jul 2019


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SunExpress is a Turkish airline based in Antalya which operates flights to various destinations in Europe, Asia, and North Africa.

SunExpress currently operates a fleet of 75 aircraft: Boeing 737-800 and Airbus A330.

Sezgin Yolcu, Flight Operations Engineer at SunExpress, shares with us his experience of using SkyBreathe® Fuel Efficiency to optimize fuel savings:

  • Which were your goals and main issues when you chose SkyBreathe®?

When we chose SkyBreathe® at SunExpress, our main goal was to increase and optimize our fuel savings by implementing fuel efficiency software. In 2017, we assumed that we were saving 2% of our fuel consumption, and we expected to increase our fuel savings by 0.5% per year until reaching 4% of fuel savings in 2021.

To achieve this goal, we needed a fuel efficiency tool that showed trends and analysis to identify fuel savings opportunities. We wanted to move fast and implement it within three months.

  • What made you choose SkyBreathe®?

The main criteria that made us choose SkyBreathe® to support our fuel efficiency efforts were:

  • The possibility for pilots to have an individual debrief in MyFuelCoach mobile application on iOS and Android, with an unlimited number of pilots using the application.
  • Having access to accurate fuel savings computation on every single flight
  • Having access to a 3D map representation of each flight

Apart from the features criteria, the reasons we chose SkyBreathe® are the user-friendliness of the software and the Customer Support high availability and reactivity.

  • How did the implementation of the project go?

Of course, our Fuel Efficiency team faced many challenges during the implementation phase of the project: data transfer automatization, FDR data usage policy, SkyBreathe® product test… However, with the help of OpenAirlines Project Team, we implemented SkyBreathe® in just four months, which was aligned with our Project Plan.

  • Can you estimate the benefits that the solution brings to SunExpress?

First, I would like to explain the organizational structure of SunExpress in terms of Fuel Saving Campaign: our Flight Operations Management created a Fuel Efficiency Core Team (FECT) to handle the fuel-related topics companywide. Our FECT is composed of a pilot, two engineers, and an operational control center. On the other hand, we established a Fuel Efficiency Team (FET) with more members from different departments such as maintenance, ground operations, flight planning, and commercial.

The main benefit of using SkyBreathe® for our Fuel Efficiency Core Team (FECT) is that they can measure fuel savings and potential remaining. It also helps us improve communication with executive management: fuel savings are reported every quarter, giving our Management Team a chance to follow the financial progress.

I cannot disclose the exact numbers, but I can roughly say we are on track to reach our goal of reducing our fuel consumption by 4% before 2021.

  • What features do you particularly enjoy?

What I enjoy the most about SkyBreathe® is its Query Editor, which is a flexible environment where I can create graphs, tables, and even new measures to run any kind of analysis that I want. I also really enjoy the 3D mapping view when I need to analyze flights visually.

  • What advice would you give to airlines which want to set up a fuel efficiency program?

A well-prepared project plan is crucial to start an effective fuel saving campaign.

First, establish your fuel team, and then look for the fuel efficiency software which suits best your airline’s needs.

Indeed, without any view on your fuel savings achievement, you cannot calculate your potential and detect your weak areas to focus efforts on. Then you can start a communication program with your pilots.

Once you have implemented a fuel efficiency solution, you’ll also find additional fuel-saving potentials for maintenance, ground operations, flight planning, and commercial sides.

Then, it’s all about applying a continuous improvement cycle to the fuel-saving initiatives: Plan, Do, Check, Act, which is known as the PDCA cycle.

Finally, when considering implementing a fuel efficiency solution, I would advise airlines to anticipate data integration issues: FDR (Flight Data Record) data flow and conversion to the required format, AOC (Airline Operations Center) data, OFP (Operational Flight Plan) data, and others (ACARS, Weight & Balance, etc.)

  • If you had to define SkyBreathe® in 3 words?

I would define SkyBreathe® with the following words:

  • Innovative
  • Customer-oriented
  • Accurate Fuel Savings