The capability of airlines to quickly and efficiently recover crew from disruptions and get their rosters back on schedule is one of the most critical factors necessary to succeed in the air transport marketplace. A next-generation crew-recovery solution, incorporating the best and latest advancements in technology, provides faster and better disruption management to airlines.

During disruptions, airlines are faced with the problem of recovering crew schedules and providing an adequate number of crewmembers for each flight. Airline crew coordinators have a primary critical objective to reassign crews while minimizing cancellations and additional crew costs.

An optimization-based decision-support system can greatly assist airline coordinators in producing better recovery solutions with substantial savings and improved passenger experience.

Sabre AirCentre Recovery Manager (Crew) has been designed and implemented to help airlines solve complex crew-recovery problems.

Through the combination of experience and the latest operations-research advancements, the next-generation product is based on a holistic optimization approach to generate deployable crew rosters, significantly improving an airline’s response time to disruptions, as well as reducing operational costs.

Success during severe storms

In 2015 and 2016, record snowfalls hammered the northeastern region of the United States, resulting in large cancellation packages for airlines operating in the area. An especially severe blizzard, which was given the name “winter storm Juno” by meteorologists, hit North America in January 2015. The storm produced record levels of snowfall, causing one of the largest totals of flight cancellations in history.

January 2015 also happened to be the effective date for FAR (Federal Aviation Regulations) Part 117 in the United States, which effectively imposed stricter crew flight and duty limitations, as well as higher crew rest requirements. Such rule changes considerably increase the complexity of rescheduling crewmembers during disruptions.

Dealing with this complex task, Recovery Manager (Crew) was successful in helping airlines recover 99 percent of disrupted crew schedules for all of the storms within the same day.

The end-to-end process using the solution was 10 times faster than the typical airline process, and it provided reduced disruption impact to passengers by providing crew to every flight possible. Quality of life for crewmembers was also improved due to faster communication and a lower number of unplanned flights.

Successful real-world utilization of Recovery Manager (Crew) during these storms produced further innovative ideas, which have been incorporated in the process of continual system enhancement, with the primary focus on improving solution quality, usability and speed. Read the full article.

Ramakrishna Thiruveedhi and Chunhua Gao are members of Operatons Research team at Sabre Airline Solutions. They can be contacted at and