The fact that a shortage of pilots is coming was said even before the pandemic. It was predicted,...
Preferential Bidding for Business Aviation: Fly7 covers crew availability needs while respecting the pilots' individual requests
Within a month, Rosterize accelerated the optimal rostering for pilots with flexible hours based on the complex rules and identified how to improve the operator’s business rules. Thus, during its busiest month the company managed to spotlight additional capacity and ensure the necessary crew availability without extra costs.
Fly7, a large Swiss business jet operator, turned to Rosterize to automate day-off scheduling for pilots with flexible hours. The company has to do it within a tight timeframe as day-off requests are accepted on or prior to the 10th day of a month while a new monthly roster is to be published no later than the 15th day. It generally takes 3-5 days to complete this task manually. The roster has to meet the individual rules set in employment agreements and ensure crew availability daily.
Over a few years of work, the company’s IT specialist accumulated a knowledge base and elaborated a set of algorithms for rostering to be done on time. Once that employee quitted, it became impossible for the company to use the above deliverables, so the management faced the challenge of rostering within a tight timeframe again.
A few dozen Fly7 pilots work on flexible hours as per their respective employment agreements. These are freelancers, full-time and part-time employees who live within various distances of the base airport, so the journey can take from an hour to the whole day.
Under the agreement terms, pilots do not have normal working patterns and may request up to 10 days off, with the company having to approve at least six of them and provide at least one day off at a weekend. Pilot and other professional training impacts the rostering process too. And on top of that, all the assignments have to comply with the EASA ORO FTL rules.
Rosterize holistic crew planning add-on was adapted to the customer needs within less than a month. Opting for the iteration approach, we analyzed the system output jointly with the customer and adjusted its business requirements.
The algorithm takes Fly7 rules and generates an optimal schedule of working days and days off within a few minutes. The output includes crew roster lines in the colors familiar to users and imported from FL3XX, as well as the non-flying activity schedule. The customer needs to ensure that the number of crews assigned for each particular day is really available for OPS, which is not the case for commuting pilots or those engaged in training.
Necessary input data:
- Approved flight duties, training sessions and other scheduled events for the current and upcoming periods
- All the requests for days off and vacations
- Pilot details (place of residence, license)
- Mapping, i.e. individual business rules applied to pilots, was elaborated by Rosterize, jointly with Fly7, as part of the project
The resulting roster is analyzed using built-in reports, and, depending on a business task, various data can be acquired:
- Report on each pilot – days off (requested, rejected/ approved/added by the system to fulfill the norm, in total);
- Report on each pilot – vacations (a vacation requested three months beforehand is approved automatically; if later, the system considers the best options)
- Report on day off requests per day
- Crew availability report
- and others
The schedule covers a few days of the next month as a buffer to avoid overlaps when rostering the first days of the next month.
The Rosterize team, with the support of FL3XX, the leading aviation and crew management platform, implemented a data collection and interpretation scenario to optimise the roster. To accelerate the process, we dived deep into FL3XX’s versatile internal API and together successfully solved new ways to connect the systems.
A full-fledged integration with FL3XX is the next stage of the project
The task used to take up to five days of manual effort, but now, after optimization, it is completed in less than an hour. Fly7 can make any changes; therefore, creating a new day off schedule would not take much time.
In order to optimize the roster, we suggested amending some of the customer’s business rules, like replacing standard diagram-like 10 ON / 5 OFF and 20 ON / 10 OFF crew roster lines with the rules concerning the total amount of working days and days off, as well as optimizing rotation expenses together with other requests. Thus, in August, during its busiest month, the company managed to spotlight additional capacity and ensure the necessary crew is available.
The system provides not only a ready-to-use schedule, but also analytics on requested and approved days off.
The mathematical optimization tools behind preferential bidding in Rosterize increased the approval rate for requested days off. Thus, Fly7 meets the work-life balance demand that is gaining momentum in the pilot job market, and boosts employee motivation and loyalty.
Kristina N'Diaye, Commercial Manager Fly7:
“Before opting for Rosterize, we scrutinized the market, yet none of the teams was that much engaged in the aviation industry specifics and the specifics of our job, meaning they could not offer a relatively complete solution for our tasks. We quickly found the common ground with Rosterize and implemented all the necessary improvements successfully”
Max Andreev, CEO Rosterize:
“We express our gratitude to Fly7 management that agreed to complete the project with us. Although we did not doubt the success, it was crucial for us to show the market that the holistic crew planning solution developed for small airlines can be used in business aviation without modifications. It was the implementation stage when we saw that the Preferential Bidding scenario has a potential to be widely used in business aviation that needs specialized and optimized solutions more than ever before”
Artsiom Anismau, CTO FL3XX:
“To work with Rosterize and help our customer FLY7 achieve a holistic crew planning solution is a great project to be part of.Our collaboration with these two tech-driven partners also underlines our vision that only a Connected World of Aviation brings the most value to all players.”