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Connection rules between two sectors which is taking into consideration for flight duty planning

Updated: Jan 9

The establishment of "connection rules" between two flight legs for the automatic creation of flight duty candidates may seem like a relatively straightforward task. Is it indeed the case?

Airline’s IT systems such as crew planning system/ pairing optimizer are able to create planned flight duty comparing duty-candidates in an auto planning process. Here, candidates refer to the variety of legal options for continuing a flight duty after completing the first flight leg.

What are the risks if connection rules are wrong? For example, the system can miss a fully legal duty which could be the most cost-effective or create an illegal or not-executable flight duty.

A recommended approach

The solution involves determining the lower and upper boundaries of the overlap relative to the arrival time of the first leg. Onward flights - candidates should be selected based on whether the flight departure time falls within the specified overlap range.

What factors should a crew planner consider when establishing rules for a minimum connection?

Let's assume that the overlap occurs at the same airport.

Followings factors should be taken into account:

  • The minimum connection time can be defined by the airline's rules and be different depends of aircraft type, airport or company flight schedule.

  • The most obvious factor is whether there is a change of the aircraft or not. The minimum connection time cannot exceed the time established by the company for disembarking passengers and baggage from the aircraft and boarding passengers for the next flight.

  • Sequence of domestic and international flights. Crew members must have enough time to go through a border control.

  • An obligation to get a pre-flight briefing before the flight.

  • Next flight departure is planned in another airport terminal. So, the transfer takes time.

What about connection between different airports placed in one metropolitan area like New York or Milan.

Additionally, you need to think about:

  • A ground transportation time. If you go from point A to point B, it doesn’t mean the same distance and time as from B to A. For example, different types of transport are used or a traffic situation could vary significantly depending on the direction.

  • Ground transport schedule and weekday together with season. A usual ground transport schedule can be also changed accordingly.

Now you can see that such a seemingly simple task can involve multiple conditional factors. Certainly, it's important to note that mentioned factors can have mutual influences on each other!

Our product, Planex Optimal Crew optimizer, allows crew planners to flexibly customize connection rules taking into account these relevant factors.

To be continued…



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