Managing Flight Crew Costs with Efficient Data

By 07/02/2022 March 15th, 2022 No Comments

Managing Crew costs has long been an important focus point for airlines. The Covid-19 pandemic has brought these costs into even sharper focus. Now in 2022, as airlines embrace the challenges of recovering to pre-pandemic levels of performance it is clear that effective cost management will continue to be a critical capability for the future.

Crew costs are one of the biggest expenses for airlines, second only to the costs of fuel. These costs are difficult to manage within the dynamics of the operation and many airlines do not have the insights into the drivers of these costs or the necessary levers to optimize them.

  • Flight crew costs almost always exceed budget every time.
  • Schedulers make decisions on crew allocation and assignments without consideration for cost.
  • The true picture on Crew costs is not available until after the roster period has ended and the horse has effectively bolted.
  • Cost inaccuracies, particularly in relation to pay for flight crew, are major bugbears and operational headaches.
  • Additional costs are incurred month after month and are accepted as a natural consequence of managing the operation.
  • Without the ability to diagnose and understand these costs and the related dynamics there is little or no opportunity for improvement.

Managing Crew costs is a real challenge but there is a way to calculate crew costs as they are incurred and have full visibility at all times.

The solution is automated crew pay from Rainmaker – a system that calculates pay and allowances dynamically for the published roster and for every trip scheduled and flown.

As Collective Agreements have become more and more complicated over time it is now essential that airlines have a fully automated system to calculate and process crew pay. Using the typical mix of manual and automated processes is no longer viable. It is costly, inaccurate and a source of great discontent for all those involved, especially for crew themselves.

With a fully automated solution from Rainmaker every airline can take control of crew costs to:

  • Automatically import crew rosters and every schedule change to calculate and display pay to pay administrators and crew.
  • Track all cost variances between published and performed rosters.
  • Provide insights into all categories of crew costs (pay, accommodation, transport) and all related cost variances.
  • Provide complete transparency and access to crew costs.


The benefits of taking control are well worth the investment as you will:

  • Reduce costs of administering pay for flight crew by 50% to 80%.
  • Change the role of Pay Administrators from calculating pay to auditing pay.
  • Deal with crew queries online in the moment, not at month end when addressing issues becomes more costly.
  • Improve crew engagement and satisfaction through fully accurate and transparent pay.
  • Provide deep insights into cost variances and how crew costs accumulate enabling continual improvement and better control.
  • Basic, informed interventions can result in 3% to 5%+ savings in overall crew costs.


It is essential that airlines transform crew operations by automating pay for flight crew. Making these costs transparent and manageable is no longer a luxury for airlines and is instead fast becoming a vital aid in the effective running of a modern operation. Pay must be accurate and transparent. Cost information should be available and the basis for informed decisions. Flight crew need to be able to trust their pay. They also should be able to see how their pay is progressing as a result of their commitment and productivity. The key stakeholders need visibility and control. They need to understand the cost impacts of their decisions and  know that what they are doing is optimal for safety and success.

Rainmaker provides the world-leading solution for automating pay for flight crew and providing deep insights into where the money goes.

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