Crew Scheduler Job Description
Crew schedulers help manage airport operations by arranging the schedules of crew members for specific flights with the goal of optimizing resources and minimizing costs. Since there is no computationally straightforward way to do this, they must rely on critical thinking and consider various factors, such as crew member preference, government regulations, and flight requirements. They also consider possible weather, air traffic, and operational disruptions and plan accordingly to avoid delays. While crew schedulers typically work in airports, they spend most of their time in front of multimonitor computers, often working shifts during evenings and weekends.
Crew Scheduler Duties and Responsibilities
A crew scheduler’s duties can vary depending on their employer, but we analyzed online job postings to identify the following core duties and responsibilities:
The primary responsibility of crew schedulers is to prepare schedules for airline crews, which include pilots and flight attendants as well as dispatchers and other ground-based personnel. They must examine diverse criteria such as plane capacity, seniority, sick and holiday leaves, and employee preference, then send out finalized schedules as printed lists.
Harsh weather, mechanical disruptions, and unexpected sickness among crew members are common incidents that cause flight delays. Crew schedulers must adapt to these situations and update schedules accordingly. In addition, they must notify airline staff about any issues or changes in a timely manner.
Monitor Flight Operations
Crew schedulers monitor flight operations, tracking a plane’s progress and recording the amount of time crew members work so as not to exceed duty time limitations. It’s also their job to make transportation arrangements and book hotel reservations for flight crews.
Assist with HR
Attendance and timekeeping are two more job duties that crew schedulers take on, since they process vacation requests and leaves of absence and follow up on crew members with attendance problems. Alongside these issues, they collaborate with the HR department to conduct trainings and line checks.
When assigning tasks and schedules, crew schedulers must ensure that all flight processes are in compliance with federal industry regulations, department policies, and contract requirements. They may create a crew scheduling manual and write legality reports that detail transgressions and suggestions for avoiding them in the future.
Crew Scheduler Skills and Qualifications
Crew schedulers are tech-savvy multitaskers who can make complex decisions even while under pressure. They highly value compliance with regulations, and they excel at critical analysis. Employers look for crew schedulers who have the following skills:
- Knowledge of airport operations – crew schedulers must be knowledgeable about airport operations, common issues, and schedule planning. On a practical level, they should be comfortable using complex, multiscreen software
- Decision-making – from choosing crew members for specific flights to dealing with delays, crew schedulers make several important decisions every day, and they should be capable of standing by these choices and communicating them to other staff
- Problem-solving skills – crew schedulers often face real-time problems that require immediate resolution, so they should be critical thinkers who can gather information from other staff and pinpoint an efficient solution even under pressure
- Multitasking – it’s important for crew schedulers to be good at multitasking and maintaining focus even as they oversee several ongoing flights and crew members simultaneously
- Interpersonal skills – whether they’re providing updates or assisting in high-stress situations, crew schedulers must cultivate good working relationships with crew members, especially those whose schedules they manage
Tools of the Trade
Crew schedulers regularly use these tools and should have a good understanding of how to handle them:
- Flight operations management software (FlightOffice, FlightTrak, Flightnet)
- Microsoft Office (Word, Excel)
Crew Scheduler Education and Training
Most employers require crew schedulers to have a high school diploma or GED at minimum, but candidates with a degree in aviation are strongly preferred. Those with at least one year of experience in aviation operations, especially crew scheduling, are at an advantage. All crew schedulers receive on-the-job training, which varies based on the company and how much education and experience the candidate already has.
Crew Scheduler Salary and Outlook
PayScale reports that crew schedulers earn a median yearly income of nearly $46,000. The lowest 10th percentile of crew schedulers receive $34,000, and those who earn the most make over $76,000.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that jobs in transportation and material moving, which includes crew schedulers, will grow 6 percent through 2026. A major cause is the increased need for travel and transportation of goods and materials due to globalization.
If working as a crew scheduler sounds like a good fit, check out this curated list of career resources:
International Air Transport Association – IATA is a major trade association for airlines all over the world. Its website features economic reports, published articles, policy documentation, upcoming industry events, and diverse training programs
Airline Operations and Scheduling – clear and well-structured, this book takes a solution-oriented approach to airline operations and scheduling by presenting various optimization models and illustrating how to apply them through examples and case studies
Airport Operations – for a broad overview of operational functions, crew schedulers can turn to this book, which addresses airline scheduling, ground handling, safety management, sustainable development, and other topics