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Once the pandemic hit, experts claimed that the aviation industry will need years to come back to normal. And yet this summer season has already proven to disprove that claim. With passengers eager to return to travel and make up for a lost time, airports, airlines, and aviation support organisations are faced with employee shortages – there are simply not enough people to fly the planes, serve the passengers or unload their bags. Such shortage at airports around the world has resulted in frequent flight delays, cancellations, and lots of frustration for travellers.

With the limited number of available staff, companies turn to digital solutions to minimise the impact, maximise efficiency, and ensure stable operations. “As we observe drastic staffing shortages, the usability and efficiency of each person must be pushed to the max,” claims Romas Butkevicius, CEO of Sensus Aero, a new-gen software solution for the aviation industry. “One important thing to remember – if you are extremely understaffed, the software won’t find you any new employees. However, digital solutions can aid you in the management of the staff you do have. For example, one solution can find better ways to schedule needed staff thus saving on required personnel per period. Needing even 10 fewer people to cover the period while maintaining the same quality of service, can save massive costs on salary alone in the long run,” Romas shares and adds, “While aviation companies struggle to find needed staff, utilizing efficiently current staffing is a must.”

According to him, using scheduling tools can also save from human errors. “Before managing any real-time ground handling operations, one must have a good plan. That’s why planners are a valuable asset to the business and the schedule they design plays a vital part. Yet, they are human and make mistakes. Having reliable software can aid in avoiding many threats. And while such systems are not fully replacements for actual planners, they can be a real help in finding the best solutions.”

Sensus Aero CEO explains that the tool is able to generate rosters for both, perfect, meaning what is your needed demand with specific qualifications, and for unfulfilled plan situations when the system generates the roster with resources the company currently possess. “The latter mode is harder, as the system, not the planner, has to take in mind all unique situations and automatically assign tasks equally throughout the period. More to that, our solution utilizes AI, which kicks in after 2-3 months of planning and learns the patterns of planner manual changes,” he shares. “The AI is both simple and complex, however, the Rostering requires “human touch” and we found, that each planner has its own style – we are trying to apply it if it has a continuous logic behind it. This helps both us and the users to tune up the results and even further optimize the schedules.”

While specialized tools can help businesses adapt to difficult staffing situations, Romas believes that the real, long-term solution for staff shortage is more in the hand of the community as a whole. “We need to encourage the younger generation to join aviation more eagerly. And this is the massive task before us.”