Turkish Airlines migrated its entire flight-planning environment to a new platform, ensuring that technology keeps pace with its current and future growth needs.

“We fly to more countries than any other airline.” Turkish Airlines’ current marketing campaign focuses on this statement. With its main hub, Istanbul, Turkey, acting as a historic bridge between the east and west, the slogan emphasizes the airline’s tremendous growth in recent years.

Following the airlines’ growth, the demands on its flight-planning organization have increased considerably. In 2010, when Turkish Airlines implemented Sabre Flight Plan Manager, the airline operated approximately 700 flights a day. Today, that number has nearly doubled to almost 1,400 daily flights.

Flight Plan Manager combines complete data support services — notice to airmen (NOTAM), weather, airport suitability and airspace restrictions — with real-time alerts. The 4-D cost optimization functionality, route, altitude, speed and time are simultaneously analyzed to create an optimal flight path that accounts for fuel costs, CO2 emissions and delays.

Flight Plan Manager reduces costs and increases revenue by providing an airline with optimized solutions on a flight-by-flight basis, considering fuel, time and revenue. It enables airline analysts to manage by exception through alerting. In addition, it integrates with industry standardized meteorological and navigational data, aircraft situational display and airspace flow control.

“After a detailed analysis and evaluation, Sabre’s Flight Plan Manager System received the highest ratings within Turkish Airlines’ RFP process,” said Capt. Fatih Kacmaz, senior vice president of the integrated operations control center for Turkish Airlines.

At the time of Turkish Airlines’ launch of Flight Plan Manager, its main goals were to automate dispatch business processes; manage by exception; and minimize delays, fuel costs and CO2 emissions. These goals have been achieved successfully, but in the wake of the airlines’ growth, a new challenge became apparent — the need to ensure that those business processes scale together with the airline’s increased complexity in flight-plan management.

One example of the growing complexity is the increased strain on the airline’s IT infrastructure, due to the rapidly growing number of flights, all of which needed to be planned. In addition, the IT department was in the process of updating its hardware inventory as part of Turkish Airlines’ five-year roadmap.

This led to a precarious situation for current and future operations. Turkish Airlines realized the need to take action and, again, partnered with Sabre to upgrade its flight-planning environments, enabling future growth and securing ongoing operations.

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By Witold Klajner, Grant Faulks, and Robert Heiss, Ascend Contributors