10 tips and tricks to better engage pilots in your fuel efficiency program
This article provides 10 insights on how to get a strong pilot commitment when selecting your eco-flying solution.
1. Communication is key
It is essential to build a fuel team and discuss with your chief pilots about fuel efficiency. Involve them on your fuel efficiency project from the very beginning. They are the ones who fly; they must feel engaged and part of all the decisions.
Pilots know better than anyone what are the restrictions on routes, runways, airports, etc. Thus, when you launch fuel initiatives, they will help you configure them the right way.
And, if fuel initiatives are tailored to the airline’s specificities, the pilot’s engagement will be higher.
When they share feedback about one procedure, listen to them as you might have missed something.
Listen and answer their concerns; they are all important. Do not be afraid of any questions.
- Is the data usage secured?
- Are you following the data privacy agreement?
- Will you set up a punishment/reward policy? (Not advised)
2. Efficiency will never harm safety, but on the contrary, can improve it
Keep it simple: safety must remain the number #1 priority. Don’t pressure the pilots: any fuel initiative should be done “conditions permitting.” If you respect that, increased efficiency creates safety margins.
By sharing data on how to fly more efficiently, you empower them to make better decisions, and this benefits to safety as well as to their job’s interest.
3. Pilots need accurate data
You need to measure all the potential fuel initiatives. These computations must be done on every single flight, based on actual conditions. If you want your pilots to trust your fuel savings analysis, do not use statistical values.
Showing trustworthy figures to pilots will help them understand the importance of each initiative, and they will be glad to use the data that helps them perform better.
You cannot improve what you cannot measure.
4. Control the flight plan accuracy
Check your flight plan’s accuracy: wind, weights, fuel reserves.
If it is good, explain it to your pilots. It is easier to be more fuel-efficient when you trust your flight plan.
If there is room for improvement, put actions in place to raise the flight plan’s accuracy, and explain them to your pilots. You can decide to improve your choice of alternate, increase the flight level accuracy, review your contingency fuel policy, or reduce the Zero Fuel Weight error, for example.
A more accurate flight plan is a gold mine for your pilots. It helps them save time, be more precise, and be more efficient.
5. Fuel efficiency is an airline’s project
Improving fuel efficiency is an airline’s project. Everyone should be involved: flight ops, dispatch, maintenance, ground operations.
Even though the action plan might involve pilots first, you should consider and show your pilots that it is a company project and that everyone will support them.
6. Clarification about data privacy concerns
You should explain what the data that you will use to measure fuel initiatives are. If you need to restrict this data, only ~50 QAR parameters (out of one thousand available) are key to run all the analysis; share the list with the pilots.
Discuss the matter with the unions and set up a protocol that explains what are the intentions and legitimates the use of the data. Indeed, the fuel efficiency project’s objectives are not to control and monitor pilots’ actions but to identify opportunities on all operated flights.
If pilots have additional concerns, clarify with them how data will be anonymized.
7. Quick wins for the beginning
If you decide to launch fuel efficiency actions, start with quick wins.
It is always better to start with a low effort. The engagement will be higher if what you ask does not need too much effort. As culture and practices improve, everybody will be glad to move to more sophisticated practices.
8. An onboarding in several steps
It is simpler to have the first discussions with a small representative group of pilots. How this group is setup should be discussed directly with your chief pilots and the pilots’ representatives.
It is a good way to stay focused and be able to answer everyone’s concerns.
Once this first group is onboarded, they will become your early promoters. And you will be prepared and ready to onboard everyone else.
9. Results are important
When you start to measure general performance, investigate your past initiatives, and check the real benefit of these initiatives. Accurate results and actual performance are the best starts to launch new actions.
Show the pilots their own results: the more you empower your pilots, the most efficient they will be.
When they improve their performance, they must see and trust this improvement.
And when they save fuel, they also reduce CO2 emissions, and it is good for all of us.
Here is an interesting article that may help you have a first idea of the potential ROI you can expect to get.
10. Simpler more efficient
When you set up your fuel initiatives, you will find many specificities and Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) to consider. You will be tempted to fine-tune your procedures to increase your fuel savings. It might be a bad idea.
Pilots always have many SOP to follow, and many things to deal with while flying. If you want them to apply a fuel initiative, they need to quickly know if they can do it on a particular flight and what is the procedure.
Use the training sessions to familiarize them with the procedures.
If you keep the message simple, it will be better heard and followed.
Based on our experience, we have shared with you 10 tips and tricks to convince your pilots about fuel efficiency. We hope that this article was useful and if you want to go further on this, we’re here to help!
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