Let’s focus on airline crew KPIs today. Although I’ve published many blog posts about airline operations KPIs, crew KPIs —so far— haven’t been that prominent.

I think it is time to correct that. Especially since I am fully aware of the essential role cockpit and cabin crew plays in the context of airline operations.

Many Airlines Focus On Flight And Passenger KPIs Instead Of Crew KPIs

However, when discussing airline KPI projects with (potential) clients, the primary focus —most often— is on flights and passengers. Crew aspects usually play a secondary role. That’s probably why the number and types of flight-related KPIs are substantially higher than crew KPIs. Nonetheless, from my point of view, there are particularly six crew KPIs an airline should have a close eye on.

Why did I choose these six KPIs? Because I think each of them is very relevant. Either they have a significant impact on an airline’s operational performance or hold a motivational aspect. So here’s my list of the six most essential crew KPIs when it comes to airline operations.

Here Are 6 Essential Crew KPIs Airlines Should Monitor

Standby Crew Availability

Standby crew represents a crucial pillar of an airline’s operations. A shortage of an airline’s standby crew can directly and massively impact the flight schedule. In other words, a lack of standby crew can directly lead to the necessity of canceling flights.

Therefore, I consider this KPI extremely essential. Of course, it makes sense to apply different dimensions to the KPI. Position (for both cockpit and cabin) or aircraft type are just two examples.

From a calculation-point-of-view, the KPI is an absolute no-brainer. However, at some airlines, we experience data availability as a challenge.

Number of Deadhead Crews

Deadhead crews are crew member (cockpit or cabin) that travel on a flight off-duty. Accordingly, every airline is trying to reduce the number of deadhead crews to a minimum.

Undoubtedly, deadhead crews don’t have an impact on an airline’s operations. However, they and subsequently this airline crew KPI represent an essential efficiency and performance aspect.

Therefore, I consider monitoring this KPI as relevant. So do many of the airlines I’ve been working with in the past.

Crew En Route

For sure, a very basic KPI. The KPI solely shows the number of cockpit or cabin crews that are currently en route. In fact, this KPI won’t drive your efficiency or performance. However, I believe it holds enormous potential in terms of motivation.

At many airlines where we use this KPI, it creates some wow-moments. Why’s that? Because many airline employees can’t imagine how many crews are up in the air and working hard to bring passengers to their destination.

Crew Aircraft Changes

This KPI calculates the number of aircraft changes crews have to perform on a day. I consider this KPI as necessary since every aircraft change holds the potential for interrupting your operations.

Therefore, most of the airlines I know try to minimize the number of crew aircraft changes. Accordingly, this KPI provides a perfect overview of how hairy a day can get. As mentioned in many other blog posts, it is vital to give context to this KPI. That means, besides the actual values, you should provide average or target values. This helps the audience to assess the current performance.

Crew Bus Punctuality

Another KPI that is extremely helpful in order to assess current operations comprehensively. The KPI basically measures the on-time performance of crew busses. Accordingly, a weak performance will lead to disruptions of your flight schedule.

However, it is worth mentioning that many airlines struggle to set up this KPI. The reason behind this is that many airlines can’t track crew bus punctuality and gather relevant data.

Crew Readiness

The Crew Readiness KPI is a more sophisticated version of the Crew Bus Punctuality. It calculates the number of flights where the crew hasn’t been available at the right aircraft on-time. Accordingly, the number of flights is then put into relation to the total number of flights.

Different from Crew Bus Punctuality, this KPI takes all flights into account. Additionally, to be able to calculate the KPI, it requires a reference model to track against. That means the reference model must contain a point in time when the crew should be available at the aircraft.

The KPI provides an excellent overview of how smooth the operations are running.

What are the operational crew KPIs your airline is tracking?

Always curious to discover new KPIs — especially in terms of crew aspects. So hit me up on Twitter or LinkedIn and let me know which KPIs your airline is tracking.


Want To Know More About Airline KPIs? Here’s Where To Start!


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Benjamin is an information-enthusiast, a content-maniac, and CEO of Information Design (in this order). His daily business revolves around pioneering solutions with the aim to change the way companies use information. His visions are based on expertise gained in more than 15 years in the industry, and working with renowned companies all over the globe.