Effective Crew Management Planning Solutions
19 December 2023| By Just Aviation Team
Crew planning in aviation industry is a vital function for any business aviation operator, as it determines the quality and efficiency of their service, as well as the safety and satisfaction of their crew members. However, crew planning is also a challenging and complex task, as it involves dealing with various factors and constraints, such as demand uncertainty, regulatory compliance, aviation crew management, and crew retention. Explore how Just Aviation, a leading business flight support company, can overcome these crew planning challenges and achieve optimal results for their business and their crew, by using advanced technology and best practices.
Crew planning involves creating optimal schedules for pilots and cabin crew, ensuring compliance with regulations and contractual obligations, managing training and qualifications, and responding to disruptions and changes. Crew planning challenges can affect the safety, efficiency, and profitability of business aviation operations, as well as the satisfaction and retention of crew members.
Ensuring optimal crew accommodation involves multifaceted considerations integral to flight operations. In compliance with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Annex 6 Part I, Chapter 4, Section 4.10, meticulous attention is devoted to securing adequate rest periods for flight crew members pre and post-flight duty periods. These rest periods demand meticulously chosen accommodations that meet stringent criteria encompassing location, quality, availability, cost, and adherence to crew preferences and feedback.
The ICAO’s Fatigue Risk Management Systems (FRMS) Implementation Guide for Operators stands as a paramount resource delineating meticulous guidelines for crew accommodation. These encompass nuanced factors such as mitigating noise, regulating light exposure, maintaining optimal temperature settings, ensuring security protocols, sustaining impeccable cleanliness standards, optimizing comfort, and ensuring seamless accessibility.
Further guidance emerges from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) through their Guidance Material and Best Practices for Pilot Aptitude Testing. Emphasizing proximity to airports, it stipulates that crew accommodations should ideally be situated within a 30-minute travel radius. Simultaneously, it underscores the necessity for crew members to access essential amenities such as sustenance, potable water, and constant availability of medical services.
- AI-Driven Accommodation Matching: Employ AI algorithms to match crew preferences, past feedback, and individual requirements with available accommodations.
- Dynamic Cost Optimization: Utilize predictive analytics to optimize accommodation costs, considering seasonal variations and availability fluctuations.
- Blockchain for Transparent Feedback: Implement blockchain technology to record and transparently share crew feedback on accommodations, enhancing future selection processes.
Crew Visa Arrangement
Navigating the intricate web of visa and permit requisites for flight crew assumes paramount significance, contingent on the unique entry policies of destination countries. The complexities inherent in this process, encompassing time constraints and potential financial implications, necessitate a strategic approach by crew planners.
The ICAO Human Factors Training Manual, Document 9683, the FAA ICAO Flight Planning Interface Reference Guide, and the UK Civil Aviation Authority Crew Members (Entry Clearance Guidance) stand as invaluable resources delineating and interpreting the diverse visa prerequisites for flight crew members. The comprehensive understanding of these references equips planners with the foresight to pre-emptively tackle diverse visa demands, thereby averting unwarranted delays or penalties stemming from unforeseen changes in visa regulations:
- Real-time Monitoring Framework: Design a real-time monitoring framework integrated within the aviation system, continuously tracking visa expiration dates, entry restrictions, and compliance updates. Employ event-driven architecture to trigger immediate alerts and notifications to relevant stakeholders as soon as compliance issues arise.
- Predictive Modeling: Leverage historical crew visa data, flight schedules, crew demographics, and destination-specific visa requirements to build predictive models. Implement regression or classification algorithms to forecast crew visa needs accurately, considering various parameters influencing visa application and approval processes.
- Secure API Interfaces: Develop secure APIs and communication protocols that establish direct connections between the aviation system and government databases handling visa information. Implement encryption and authentication mechanisms to ensure data security and compliance with regulatory standards.
Optimizing Crew Planning: Leveraging Advancements for Enhanced Efficiency
Technology can play a vital role in helping business aviation operators overcome crew planning in aviation industry challenges and achieve their goals. Some of the technological solutions that can assist crew planning include:
Centralized Database & Dashboard
For training and qualification management, one possible solution is to use a centralized database and dashboard that can store and display all the relevant information about the crew members’ training and qualification status, as well as the expiration dates and renewal requirements of their certificates and licenses. The database and dashboard can also provide alerts and reminders for the crew members and the planners about the upcoming training and qualification activities, as well as the availability and cost of training resources.
- IATA offers a training and qualification aviation Crew Management System (CRM) for airlines that can track and manage the crew members’ training records, certificates, and licenses, as well as the training courses, instructors, and facilities. The system can also generate reports and analytics on the crew members’ training and qualification performance and compliance.
Business aviation operators have to ensure that their crew members are properly trained and qualified to operate the aircraft and perform their duties. This involves managing and tracking various aspects of crew training, such as ground training, flight training, recency, simulators, and external training. Crew training and qualification management is essential for maintaining safety standards, meeting customer expectations, and complying with regulations:
- Reduces operating costs by 10 percent through improved crew utilization and reduced crew accommodation, positioning, and rotation expenses.
- Increases crew productivity by 15 percent through optimized crew pairings and rosters that meet the flight schedule and crew preferences.
- Enhances crew satisfaction and retention by allowing crew members to bid for their preferred flights and providing them with fair and transparent crew assignments.
- Improves compliance with Flight and Duty Time limitations (FTL) rules by ensuring that crew members have adequate rest and recovery time between flights.
- Increases operational agility and resilience by enabling quick and easy adjustments before business flight planning to crew plans and schedules in response to changes and disruptions in the operating environment.
Crew planning is a crucial and challenging task for business aviation operators, as it affects the safety, efficiency, and profitability of their operations, as well as the satisfaction and retention of their crew members. By using advanced technology and best practices, business aviation operators can overcome crew planning challenges and achieve optimal outcomes for their business and their crew.
Just Aviation uses artificial intelligence, cloud-based platforms, mobile applications, and inflight connectivity to optimize their crew schedules, forecast their demand, ensure their compliance, manage their training, and enhance their crew satisfaction and retention in case of crew planning challenges. By implementing these solutions and practices, Just Aviation can improve their operational performance, reduce their costs, increase their customer loyalty, and gain a competitive edge in the business aviation industry.