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Determining the current practice in crew management of global airline industry and justifying the need and demand for industry standardised training

Principal investigator: Chrystal Zhang, Selina Fothergill, Nic Connelly, Wim Verhagen, Marcel Sol, Philipp Reske, Tim Nickel and Anita Ellmer

What does my participation involve?

1. Introduction

You are invited to take part in this research project, “Determining the current practice in crew management of global airline industry and justifying the need and demand for industry standardised training”, jointly undertaken by RMIT University and Airline Group of the International Federation of Operational Research Societies (AGIFORS). The project aims to understand the current practice and challenges in the crew management domain within the global airline community and further determine whether there is a need and demand to justify the investment into building up a standardized training program.

This Participant Information Sheet serves the following purposes. First, it intends to provide more detailed information about the project. Secondly, it explains the processes involved in the participation. It further articulates your right as a participant and the contact details if you would like to get in touch with the project team. This knowledge is important as it will help you make informed decision as to whether you would like to be involved in this project.

Please read this information sheet carefully. Please do not hesitate to contact us should have any questions or any concerns. Participation in this research is anonymous and your responses is non-identifiable. Your participation is also voluntary. You can withdraw at any time and your responses will be removed from the collated data.

Should you decide to proceed, you are more than welcome to continue to the survey after reading this Participant Information Sheet. By completing the survey you are informing us that you:

  • Understand what you have read
  • Consent to take part in the research project

2 What is the purpose of this research?

At the AGIFORS crew management study group conference 2022, during the airline panel discussion, it was identified that there was a "shared pain" among (participating) airlines from all regions and business models: the training for people work in crew management is not standardised, there is no curriculum other than company-internal materials and the onboarding of new people depends on company internal training capacities. Also, there is no common "language" which makes it harder for joiners.

Crew management is an integral part of an airline operational management team, which plays a significant role to ensure safe operations. An industry standardised language and effective training will enhance employees’ competencies and improve industry-wide operational efficiencies.

AGIFORS is therefore partnering with RMIT university to undertake a joint research project, with an aim to understand the current practice and challenges in the crew management domain within the global airline community and further determine whether there is a need and demand to justify the investment into building up standardized training.

3 What does participation in this research involve?

You are invited to participate in an online survey disseminated through RMIT subscribed online survey platform: Qualtrics. You will be asked to share some basic demographic information about yourself and respond to the statements which ask about your perceptions and experience of working in the crew management domain in your own airline.

The survey will take about 10 minutes to accomplish.

Screening procedures (questionnaire)

If you decide to take part in the research project, you will be asked a couple of screening questions to ensure your eligibility. Inclusion criteria include the following:

  • You are 18 years and above,
  • You have a minimum of 2 years of experience in the airline industry,
  • You work in an airline or aviation associated organisations whose role involves crew planning, crew rostering, aircraft scheduling, crew training, safety management and regulatory compliance.

Satisfying the above requirements means that you are eligible to participate in the survey.

Additional costs and reimbursement

There are no costs associated with participating in this research project, nor will you be paid.

4 Other relevant information about the research project

The project aims to collect both quantitative and qualitative data. The quantitative data is collected through the online survey, with the link to be shared with you via AGIFORS website landing page. The qualitative data will be collected via focus group discussions. A separate Consent Information Sheet will be available should you be interested in participating in the focus group discussions. Please get in touch with the Project team to advise your expression of interest.

5 Do I have to take part in this research project?

Participation in any research project is voluntary. If you do not wish to participate, you do not have to. If you decide to take part and later change your mind, you are also free to withdraw from the project at any stage.

Your consent to participate in the online survey is implied. By clicking on the “next/arrow” button to continue to the questions and submit all your responses, you consent that you share with the project team your basic demographic information and your perception on the subject matter. You can withdraw your participation at any time before you submit your responses. Once you have submitted, your responses cannot be withdrawn because they are non-identifiable and it is not possible for the research team to identify which response is your contribution.

Your decision to take or not to take part in the survey, or to withdraw will not affect your relationship with the researchers, or AGIFORS or RMIT University.

6 What are the possible benefits of taking part?

We cannot guarantee or promise that you will receive any benefits from this research; however, you may appreciate that you are making contribution to enhance the understanding of the current practice in crew management domain in the global airline community contributing to knowledge advancement.

Possible benefits may include the following:

For individual participants to the survey and focus group discussions, it is a great opportunity to reflect your working experience in crew management domain in airline industry in terms of your knowledge, skills and competencies to allow the researchers to assist to determine whether there is a training need and demand to support your work.

For the airline community, the project will help to determine whether and to what extent there exist different approaches and practices with respect to crew management training and operations. The consequences of the training will have an impact on airline operational efficiencies and safety. The identified training needs and demand, if there are any, will allow the research team to develop/design training programs and define the best practices to enhance airline operational efficiencies and flight safety.

7 What are the risks and disadvantages of taking part?

This project is categorised as a low risk, hence we are not anticipating any physical harm or damage to the participants as there are no physical activities involved. Nevertheless, the topic to be discussed might give rise to any emotions that you are not comfortable with. Below is more information.

Psychological distress

You may feel that you are not comfortable to share your perception and experience of working in the crew management domain. If you do not wish to respond to a question, you may choose to skip that specific question or statement. Alternatively, you may choose to withdraw from participating in the survey. If you discontinue with the online survey, your response to the survey will be incomplete, hence will be removed from the collated data for any further analysis.

In the event that you become upset or distressed because of your participation in the research project, you are encouraged to reach out to any of the research team members to discuss any support you might need. You are also more than welcome to get in touch RMIT Univeristy Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) to provide your feedback or complaints.

Contact details are provided below under Item 14, “Complaints, support and expression of concerns”.

Survey instrument

This project will collect quantitative data via an online survey. The survey instrument is Qualtrics, a professional platform that RMIT University has subscribed to with effective privacy protection mechanism in place. This means that your responses will be recorded and stored on the host server, which is encrypted. Only the project team has access to the raw data, who are committed to abiding by relevant laws and regulations and ethical research code of conduct.

Once the data has been collected, it will be exported to the RMIT server where it will be stored securely for five years in accordance with the Australian laws and regulations. The data on the host server will then be deleted and expunged.

8 What if I withdraw from this research project?

The participation in online survey is completely voluntary. You may choose to withdraw your participation at any time. If you choose to withdraw in the course of contributing to the survey, your incomplete responses will be removed from the data analysis, provided that your data is identifiable. If you choose to withdraw after you have completed the survey by contributing to a response to all the survey questions, it is unlikely that your data will be removed, because your data is non-identifiable.

9 What happens when the research project ends?

The researcher team intends to disseminate the research findings with the global airline community to inform further discussions on the topic. The dissemination will be achieved through the following channels:

  • AGIFORS’ forum, symposium, conference
  • Publication in industry magazines
  • Publication in academic refereed journal where appropriate

Estimated data of availability of the above publication could be any time after August 2023. Please reach out to the research team and the AGIFOR management team for a results summary.

10 What will happen to information about me?

The survey is designed in such a way that it is not intended to collect any personal information, such as your name and your address. Basic demographic information such as gender, years of working experience in a specific role which is grouped into several bands, and job title is collected and analysed in order to allow the research team to conduct statistical analysis to determine any correlations between the variables. No personal data is collected. The data collected from participants will be solicited and aggregated for meaningful analysis. The outcome of the collated data analysis will be included in the research reports which will be available for you to read and download.

The data collected is non-identifiable. The data collected will initially be stored at the Qualtrics server which is encrypted. Once the data collection is complete, it will be exported to RMIT server which is also encrypted and stored for 5 years according to Australia regulations. The data on Qualtrics server will then be deleted and expunged.

11 Who is organising and funding the research?

This research project is a joint effort of AGIFORS Crew Management Study Group and RMIT University. The research team is composed of the following:

AGIFORS Crew Management Study Group:

  • Marcel Sol
  • Philipp Reske
  • Tim Nickel
  • Anita Ellmer

RMIT researchers:

  • A/Prof Chrystal Zhang,
  • A/Prof Selina Fothergill,
  • A/Prof Nic Connelly,
  • Dr Wim Verhagen,

The research team has received no funding from their respective organisations or any third party. Hence there is no actual or perceived conflict of interest between the researchers and the prospective participants.

12 Who has reviewed the research project?

All research in Australia involving humans is reviewed by an independent group of people called a Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC). This research project has been approved by the RMIT University HREC. This project will be carried out according to the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (2007). This Information Sheet is prepared to protect the interests of people who consent to participate in human research studies.

13 Further information and who to contact

If you would like to receive more information about this project, you are more than welcome to contact the research team as listed above, whose contact details are listed on the AGIFORS landing page.

14 Complaints, support and expression of concerns

Should you have any concerns or questions about this research project, which you do not wish to discuss with the researchers listed above, you are more than welcome to get in touch with RMIT HREC. Details are as below:

RMIT HREC and contact person Ms Vivienne Moyle

RMIT University


03 9925 5037



Mailing address 

Manager, Research Governance and Ethics
RMIT University
GPO Box 2476


  • I have read and understood the Participant Information Sheet.
  • I understand the purposes, procedures, my rights and risks of the research described in the project.
  • I have had an opportunity to ask questions and I am satisfied with the answers I have received.
  • I understand that my participation is voluntary and I am free to withdraw at any time and to withdraw any unprocessed data previously supplied (unless follow-up is needed for safety reasons).
  • I understand that the project is for the purpose of research, It may not be of any direct benefits to me.
  • I understand the privacy of the personal information I provide will be safeguarded and only disclosed where I have consented to the disclosure or as required by law.
  • I understand that the security of the research data will be protected during and after completion of the study. The data collected during the study may be published and a report of the project outcomes will be provided to AGIFORS and RMIT University. Any information that will identify me will not be used.
  • I freely consent to participate in this research project as described and understand that I am free to withdraw at any time during the project without affecting my relationship with RMIT and AGIFORS.
  • I understand that I can print or download a copy of this information sheet for my future reference.


Participant’s consent

By continuing to the survey, I consent to participate in this research project.

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