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7 reasons Why Crew Planning process is complex?

Updated: Jan 9



Effective resource management is a key challenge for airlines looking to increase profitability and competitiveness. One of the most significant and costly resources for airlines is crews. But crew planning process is complex and requires a significant cognitive load to develop effective plans.


Here is why:

1. Multiple factors to consider. Crew planning involves thorough evaluation of multiple factors, including flight schedule, regulatory requirements, company policies, crew qualifications, crew preferences and operational costs. These factors must be harmonised to create a feasible and efficient crew plan.


2. Multiple activities to plan. Beyond flight assignments, crew planning encompasses a wide array of tasks, including scheduling reserve duties, simulator sessions, individual and classroom training, medical examinations and vacations.


3. Variety of solutions. Unlike many straightforward tasks, crew planning rarely has a single, definitive solution. Various options exist for a crew schedule that aligns with the airline's objectives, such as distribution of workload across bases and hubs, establishing turnaround/relay pairings, balancing different effectiveness goals, whether it's fair workload or minimisation of crew expenses.


4. External volatility. Airlines operate in a dynamic environment. There are always constant changes in factors that influence crew scheduling such as flight schedule and crew availability changes.


5. "Domino effect". Any change may potentially produce knock-on effects of the plan due to the complex interrelations in crew schedule modelling.


6. Synchronisation complexity. Continuous alignment of the information field within the entire planning group is required to provide for the process and data consistency.


7. Regular scheduling patterns. Airlines often rely on established scheduling patterns, honed over years of experience. Inclination to use routes and schemes for scheduling established over the years of experience may prevent from outside-the-box problem-solving.


In Planex we created Optimal Crew, which address key process challenges. Optimal Crew generates multiple crew plan scenarios empowering company select the optimal plan and seamlessly integrate it into planning master-system for further use. Solution impact - cost savings achieved through reductions in hotel expenses, deadhead flights and optimal crew distribution. For more information, please contact with our representatives.





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