Disputed Pairings


Memphis A300





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Pairing Dispute Process


The Scheduling Improvement Group works incredibly hard for the crew force. Every month, the SIG and PSIT (Pilot Scheduling Improvement Teams) sift trough thousands of pairings to:


“provide, through joint participation and cooperation, a process that promotes, to the greatest extent possible, a reasonable balance between … both parties (Company and Pilots).”


CBA 25.BB 


One of the ‘newer’ processes is HOW we dispute pairings. You may have wondered where they went. They still exist, continually vetted by the PSIT. But, if they are fatigue-related disputes and not ‘solved’ by the company at the end of the build week – they will be processed by the FRMG (Fatigue Risk Management Group).


The FRMG disputed track process is a new way to scientifically analyze a pairing (CBA 25.BB.5). This includes running the pairing(s) through Company and Union approved fatigue modeling software, ascertaining pairing DNA, comparing it to established DNA, and gathering sleep data from pilots.


An example of this:


In December of 2015, the SIG disputed a Hong Kong A300 sequence. The FRMG targeted this pairing for data collection in accordance with the new disputed pairing procedure but was unable to collect data since the disputed sequence was dissolved. With no further pairings to study, the issue remained dormant until Summer.


In June 2016, the pairing design returned in the 767 bid-pack. Instead of a single pairing, the sequence was now found in a majority of the Hong Kong bid pack. The pairing DNA consisted of a day, three-leg, 11-hour duty period, 25 hours off then a two-leg night hub turn. The SIG disputed the sequence again, and the data collection effort began. Undertaking the data collection effort was logistically very complex: actigraph equipment needed to be in place, a protocol was developed, request for pilot volunteers was disseminated, and members of the Fatigue Risk Management Group flew to theater to coordinate the effort.


Once the sleep data was collected, it needed to be validated and entered into sleep modeling software.

With all of the data collected, the FRMG analyzed and debated options. The group collectively requested the pairing to be rebuilt to facilitate better rest options.


The dispute process using the FRMG track is still a work in progress. The initial December pairing, notwithstanding, took six months from dispute to resolution. This is not optimal, but we continue to streamline the process with experience, efficiency and added levels of automation.


The FRMG would like to thank all of the pilots who have volunteered and will volunteer in future sleep studies. As the FRMG track continues, we will continue to need volunteers to collect data.  This data will be used to manage the fatigue risk. We appreciate your patience and assistance.


Rob Bassett

Fatigue Risk Management Committee Vice Chairman