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Airline Flight Operations

Question 1: What is Airline Flight Operations?

Airline Flight Operations is a massive part of Airline operations which focuses on the operational aspects of the flight, which includes the following:

Training its pilots to ensure that:

  • They are suitable to fly different types of planes as they have different functional requirements.
  • Prepare them on situation awareness such as how to deal with a passenger who requires urgent medical attention, a passenger who is unruly on-board, and technical issues with the planes.

They give the Aircrew Members (Pilots and Cabin Crew) their flights, including their rest time overseas, if their flight time is beyond a certain number of hours.

  • For example, if the Aircrew’s Assigned Flight is a round-trip from Singapore to Bangkok, they will not have rest time overseas as the flight duration is short.
  • Another example is that if their Assigned Flight is an overnight round-trip from Singapore to Auckland, which is beyond 5 hours, they will have rest time overseas.

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 They also administer communications both in the air and on the ground for pilots to communicate with air traffic controllers and airline flight officers at its flight operations command centre because:

-They need to keep up to date with information which may affect the Airline’s Operating Procedures

  • For example, Istanbul recently shifted its Airport Operations to Istanbul Airport from Ataturk Airport
  • The shift of operations means Airlines operating flights to Istanbul must keep up with its Operating Requirements

-They conduct round-the-clock monitoring of flights to check:

  • The weather and traffic Conditions for its flight paths
  • Check that the Aircraft Systems are working
  • Modify their flight plans if required to do so

They do this to ensure that the flights reach their destinations safely and on-time.

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Q2: Why is Flight Operations an integral part of the Airline’s Operations?

I think that Flight Operations is an integral part of Airline Operations because:

For ground operations:

-The station manager at the respective bases has to keep Flight Operations updated and ensure that:

  • Supporting services such as the loading of the cargo and the boarding of passengers run smoothly for the aircraft to take off from its origin airport on time.
  • The turnaround process at the destination airport, including Aircraft Interior Cleaning, runs smoothly.

If the plane is required to remain at its origin airport due to unforeseen circumstances such as:

  • Technical problem with the aircraft
  • An unruly passenger on-board the aircraft

The station manager has to update Flight Operations so that they can plan their next step of action with its relevant departments.

For Maintenance and engineering:

-Flight operations communicate with Maintenance and Engineering to:

  • Assign Aircraft its maintenance timeslot
  • Check if the Aircraft is ready for its next assigned flight
  • If not, there must be arrangements made for a replacement aircraft to fly the original aircraft’s assigned flight
  • Prevent flight delays as technical issues is one of the causes of a flight delay, as shown with a recent Scoot flight delay at Taipei on New Year’s Eve.

On 28 December 2014, Air Asia Flight 8501 crashed into the sea while flying to Singapore from Surabaya, Indonesia. This incident was caused by:

  • A faulty electronic module called the “Rudder Travel Limiter,” which manages the rudder’s limit in the skies as:
  • There was a cracked soldering joint in the circuit, and the module was reported to have failed numerous times for the past year, which means that it was not appropriately maintained.
  • The pilots tried to attempt to reset the aircraft’s computer systems when the Rudder Travel Limiter failed repeatedly. However, it led to the auto-pilot and the plane’s computer systems to shut down.
  • The co-pilot did not have exposure in flying the aircraft manually when he took charge of the captain due to the auto-pilot not operating hence leading the plane to stall.
  • The pilots failed to communicate with each other when their airplane was about to crash due to:
  • The captain gave the wrong instruction to his co-pilot “pull-down,” which led the aircraft to stall and drop drastically from the sky.
  • Instead, the captain was supposed to instruct his co-pilot to push the nose of the aircraft down to prevent the airplane from stalling further.

From this incident:

-There needs to be a proper check on all the components of the aircraft and its systems before they can be certified fit to fly for the passengers and crews’ safety in the skies.

-A need for extra training for the pilots so that they will be able to respond to any situation, including:

  • A failure in the airplane’s systems, and engines
  • Rough weather conditions en-route to the aircraft’s assigned destination
  • An ill passenger on board who requires medical attention on the ground.
  • A passenger who is unruly and poses a risk towards fellow passengers and crew

If I were to avoid a situation like Air Asia’s Incident as a Vice-President of Airline Operations:

– I would have ordered the Maintenance and Engineering Department to send the aircraft for further checks on all its systems if one part of the plane is not working.

– Also, I will not permit the aircraft to fly until all the checks have completed by the Safety Standards of the Airline and the Civil Aviation Authority.

– I would have also ordered the Flight Training Department to train the pilots not only learning to use the autopilot but also fly the aircraft manually in the event of an emergency involving a technical issue.


  • References: Straits Times articles used
  • Goh Yan Han (2 January 2019) “Scoot Passengers back in Singapore 2 days after delay in Taipei” Retrieved from
  • AFP (2 December 2015) “Crash of AirAsia QZ8501: Key Findings of Investigation Report” Information retrieved from

Cite this page

Airline Flight Operations. (2019, Dec 15). Retrieved from

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