Crew Management in Airlines: Planning and Scheduling with Sabre, Jeppesen, and others

Crew planning challenges: pairing, rostering, and bidding

Components of the crew scheduling problem. Source: Team-Oriented Airline Crew Rostering

Crew scheduling software evolution

The first wave of optimization: a FORTRAN pioneer from IBM

The second wave of optimization: $20 million savings done

The third wave of optimization: addressing flight time limitations and flight fatigue issues

Data exchange between rostering and SAFE servers via API. Source: FRMSc

The fourth wave of optimization: migrating to new platforms and technologies

Review of crew management suites.

Jeppesen Crew Management system

Jeppesen crew planning solutions with main components and some add-ons. Source: Jeppesen
  • A weighted model, typical for Europe and Latin America. It enables crew members to enter as many bids as they want. But they have to set priorities among preferences to make the system understand what factors are more important for each employee.
  • A seniority model, dominating in North America. It awards bids on a seniority basis.

Sabre AirCentre Crew Manager platform

The unified crew pairing and rostering workspace in AirCenter Crew Manager. Source: Sabre
  • training,
  • fatigue risk management,
  • monitoring legality and rules compliance,
  • collecting and analyzing crew preferences, and
  • creating customized dashboards.

AIMS Crew Management

  • crew planning (pairing constructions, manual crew assignment with automated legality checks, basic leave and training administration);
  • crew tracking (continuous monitoring of irregularities, crew hotel and travel management, tracking licenses, medical and training records, notifying on schedule changes, etc.); and
  • automatic crew assignment supporting three different bidding models.
  • Pairing Generator to automatically create legal and cost-effective pairings from a flight schedule;
  • Crew Schedule Costing System to calculate and compare crew expenses considering hotel stays, dead-heading, wages, and other costs;
  • Leave Management System to control and improve leave planning for a three-year time frame;
  • Cosmic Radiation Tracking module to evaluate the amount of crew exposure to cosmic radiation when flying above the altitude of 25,000 feet;
  • Message Distribution System to generate SMS messages in case of flight schedule changes and send them to airline staff;
  • Fatigue Risk Management System to incorporate fatigue-related information into the scheduling process; and
  • eCrew to provide crew members with access to their personal and company flight information via smartphones, tablets, PCs, or Interactive Voice Response (IVR).

Merlot Aero

Crew planning system dashboard. Source: Microsoft AppSource

Stairway to the cloud

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