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Answering the difficult questions in crew planning


Crew planning optimization products main job is to produce high quality crew rosters.  This article explores the other benefits such technology can bring as a scenario analysis tool.

Many airlines use crew planning software to produce crew rosters.  Some of these tools are ‘automation’ tools that follow a structured approach to building rosters and other use optimization techniques.  In the majority of cases optimization tools will generate pairings  and / or rosters.  Pairings are blocks of work where flights are connected together, they are not specific to crew members, whereas rosters are specific to individual crew members (the pairings are allocated to individual crew).  Rosters and pairings can be created both weekly and monthly. This software is the workhorse of the crew planning department, often utilizing advanced optimization techniques to balance efficiency, crew lifestyle and operational robustness.

Crew planning departments also frequently face numerous questions: What should crew establishment be next year? Should we open a new base? How will a proposed trade union rule impact us? What will it cost to roster extra standby? What are the implications of building this training course?

These questions often require quick and effective answers. To answer these questions a range of techniques can be used: building quick models in Excel, relying on existing data, or using gut feeling and experience.  These approaches can give an answer but can be less accurate.


Optimization as a scenario planning tool

At Motulus, we have developed a powerful optimizer designed to help our customers make better decisions. We encourage using our optimizer not only for roster production but also as a scenario analysis. Our sandbox environment allows evaluation of new schedules, crew compositions, and rules against current operations. More complex rules can be developed quickly using our service credits approach, ensuring a knowledgeable, responsive and flexible team is at hand to support our customers. Our account management team is dedicated to ensuring requests are handled promptly.

Scenario evaluation can be complex, but our team of experts is ready to work with airlines to help configure and shape each question, ensuring high-quality output. Therefore, when considering crew planning solutions, we recommend thinking beyond just roster generation and exploring the broader questions our technology can help you address.



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