At the AGIFORS crew management study group 2022, during the airline panel, it was identified that there is 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.
An idea was born: what if there is a certain standard-curriculum which teaches everyone in the crew management domain a certain basis?
But is there enough commonality across all continents and businesses? And is there enough demand to streamline this?
AGIFORS and the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) are teaming in order to find answers for the two questions:
(1) Is there enough commonality in terms of shared pain and common business practise within the global airline community in the crew management domain?
(2) Is there enough demand to justify the invest into building up a standardised training?
The survey will be executed online and under the scientific oversight of RMIT. It is aimed to allow completion within 10 minutes and shall be spread globally.
The results of the survey shall be available in late spring / early summer 2023 and will be presented at the AGIFORS crew management study group 2023.
Meet the team
The survey is a joint undertaking by AGIFORS and RMIT. It is conducted by the following team
Wim J.C. Verhagen Ph.D M.Sc. B.Sc. (RMIT)
Senior Lecturer, Aerospace Engineering and Aviation, School of Engineering, RMIT University
Wim is a Senior Lecturer at RMIT University, specialising in research and education relative to the development and use of predictive algorithms and decision support models, geared towards aircraft maintenance applications in civil and military domains.
Dr Selina Fothergill Ph.D (RMIT)
Associate Professor, Aerospace Engineering and Aviation, RMIT University
Selina is a registered supervisor psychologist and human factors expert who has led safety teams at Airservices Australia, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority and the Australian Transport Safety Bureau. Currently she is employed as an Associate Professor at RMIT University in the aerospace engineering and aviation disciplines where she conducts aviation-related research projects, supervises postgraduate research projects and teaches human factors and safety management systems.
Chrystal Zhang Ph.D (RMIT)
Associate Professor, Aerospace Engineering & Aviation, School of Engineering, STEM College, RMIT University
Programs Manager (Bachelor of Applied Science (Aviation), Bachelor of Aviation (Pilot Training), and Bachelor of Applied Science (Aviation) and Bachelor of Business Management (Double Degree)
Chrystal has extensive experience in aviation industry taking various senior roles in government agency, aviation consultancy firm, and higher education in China, the UK and Australia. She has expertise in aviation regulatory framework and policy making, airline/airport strategies and marketing, airport operation and management, and traveller's behaviour and wellbeing. She publishes extensively in leading aviation law and tourism/aviation management and marketing journals, and shares her thought leadership in mainstream media outlets such as ABC News 24, ABC Radio, Radio New Zealand, BBC, Financial Times, and Deutsche Welle.
Marcel Sol (AGIFORS crew study group co-chair)
In the airline industry for 37 years, out of which 31 are in Crew Management. These years have been purely with an IT/OR focus. Since 2015 Marcel is leading the team that support the Pairing and Rostering optimization at Qatar Airlines.
In 2016 Marcel became the Chair of the Agifors Crew Management Study Group, and is very much looking forward to seeing all of you again face to face in 2023.
Philipp Reske (AGIFORS crew study group co-chair)
10 years of airline IT experience with focusses on operations control, crew management and maintenance planning.
Currently software developer at Boeing.
Tim Nickel (AGIFORS member)
Tim has 26 years of international aviation experience in Operations Control Centers, Crew Management & Flight Operations Projects.
Currently he is the Head of the Lufthansa Flight Operations Academy
Anita Ellmer (AGIFORS member)
Anita is instructor for Flight Operation Officers and crewing personnel.
She has 20 years of experience in the field of ground handling, operations control and crewing.
We did present the plan at the AGIFORS symposium in Toulouse and are delighted about the positive feedback we already received. It gives us confidence that we are an a right track.
On the survey: the preparations are ongoing and we're still in ethical clearance process. We will inform here and through all channels once the survey will be open. For the time being, please feel free to leave your contact details.
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In the context of the survey certain terms are being used. We are aware that those terms are not globally the same and may be interpreted differently. Thus the following list should help translate the terms used in the survey towards the local common term.
Crew control contains the processes and activities carried out in order to maintain rosters / duty plans as well as pairings compliant, feasible and complete from the moment of publication / release until day of operations.
Depending on the organisation, these activities are covered by other terms. Some of them in use are crew tracking, crew scheduling, crew steering, crew recovery, crew scheduling, crew support, crewing, CSD or roster maintenance.
A crew pairing is a combination of flight legs into a sequence resulting in planning objects which usually start and end at the same crew base. Pairings are a crew planning object aiming to cover all flights and distribute workload across all bases.
Depending on the organisation, these activities are covered by other terms. Some of them in use are trip, pattern or crew route.
The process for building those crew pairings is commonly covered by the terms crew pairing generation, crew planning, crew rostering, crew route construction, crew scheduling or pairing planning.
Crew rostering contains the processes and activities carried out in order to distribute the crew pairings on individual people.
Depending on the organisation, these activities are covered by other terms. Some of them in use are are crew bid award, crew planning, crew scheduling or rostering.
Crew training planning management
Crew training planning management contains the processes and activities carried out in order to ensure all flight crew is properly trained to carry out flight duties. It covers initial training (e.g. type ratings or upgrades) as well as recurrent training (e.g. proficiency checks or medical).
Depending on the organisation, these activities are covered by other terms. Some of them in use are are crew manpower planning, crew planning, crew resource planning, crew training, crew training scheduling, crew training tracking, flight crew training, pilot training planning, cabin crew training, training admin, training support.
Headcount / capacity management
Headcount / capacity management contains the processes and activities carried out in order to derive the required amount of flight crew for a given flight schedule.
Depending on the organisation, these activities are covered by other terms. Some of them in use are (crew) capacity planning, crew planning, crew resource management, crew resource planning, crew staffing, establishment planning, manpower planning or workforce planning.
Operations research, often shortened to the initialism OR, is a discipline that deals with the development and application of advanced analytical methods to improve decision-making. It is considered to be a subfield of mathematical sciences. The term management science is occasionally used as a synonym.
Despite we do not know about the the survey outcome, there are already voices indicating that a focus on training of crew management staff requires more attention.
As an IT expert, who joined aviation after a long career in other industries, I can clearly see how special this industry is.
The language used, the operational requirements and constraints, the culture, but also the limitations like for example Crew Duty Time limitations, are difficult to understand.
It would help me tremendously to implement and maintain our Ops and Crew management IT Systems, if a proper training would be available.
I can also clearly see that our personnel through the whole crew supply chain in all crew management departments would benefit very much from a proper, standardized training, and would utilize the IT systems better with a better outcome for crew resource allocation, efficiency, crew satisfaction and fatigue risk management.
Patricia Bouillé - IT Flight Operations Project Manager
Yes, crew members are demanding customers. But at the same time, crew members have direct control over variables such as efficiency, service and flexibility. Happy crews save a lot of money.
Training is needed to make value creation through appreciation a reality.
Martin Stork - Boeing B737 Captain, Consultant / Company Culture & Human factors Expert
So often in the areas of crew resources management and day of operations the focus is on regulator driven mandatory training. What is the minimum that needs to be done to be compliant.
For our teams to flourish and grow there needs to be a comprehensive training plan not only focussed on technical aspects but also on soft skills, KPI's, team working and the development of the future leaders.
Also how their job fits into the bigger picture, understand the end to end process and the impact on the business of the decisions they make.
A comprehensive training programme is critical for a successful team.
Martin Bailham - Group Head, Network Management Air Asia Airlines Group
Within the corona crisis, we have designed a new long-haul airline in the Lufthansa Group from scratch and use organizational forms tailored to us between Crew Management and Ops Control Steering.
To this end, we have attached particular importance to efficiency and effectiveness in cooperation between the crews and all other departments involved in the field of Ops Control. Based on the experience gained in the past, we considered it necessary to prepare the employees involved for the processes right from the start and to train them in particular: Lufthansa Aviation Training Flight Operations Academy trained our employees in EASA ORO FTL Basic, EASA history & general overview, fatigue risk management, human factors and OM.
For this purpose, the have designed competence-based exercises specially tailored for Discover.
In the further course, we attended and will attend frequent refresher trainings based on the experience gained in our operation.
Here, competence-based (computing and practical) exercises were used “in the head”, on paper and by means of IT in order to understand the basics even without a system and to be able to work proactively with situational awareness, and we can see the high value of this investment into our people.
Thorsten Beck, NPFO Eurowings Discover