Real-time cost management of aircraft operations

Geoff Burrows, Christine A. Brown, Trevor W. Thom, John M.C. King, John Frearson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


An unheralded development in aviation technology has been the evolution of aircraft control systems which enable pilots to engage, in real-time, in the cost management of aircraft operations. Drawing on the specialist aviation literature, we examine the properties of, and potential behavioural problems associated with, the cost-minimization 'menus' provided in the flight management (cockpit computer) systems of modern commercial airliners. We also analyse problematic measurement issues associated with a key input into these systems, the so-called 'cost index', a ratio capturing relevant-cost information. Using realistic simulations, our analysis provides an unusually detailed description of cost-driver and cost-behaviour information in a non-manufacturing setting in which participants have significant discretion in relation to the employment of cost-optimizing solutions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)281-298
Number of pages18
JournalManagement Accounting Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2001


  • Airline industry
  • cost drivers
  • optimization techniques

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