Airline crew training survey insights presented at EATS 2019

In September 2019, RB Group in cooperation with Halldale Group ran a worldwide survey among flight crew and cabin crew on the topic of training. With a total of nearly 4,000 unique respondents the feedback was overwhelming and very insightful. This article goes into detail on the results of the survey. 

The results of this crew training survey were presented at EATS 2019 in Berlin, the European Airline Training Symposium. RB Group presented the findings during the pilot stream session together with Airbus and CAE, one of the largest aviation training companies in the world.

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RB Group on stage during the pilot stream together with Airbus and CAE.

Scope of the crew training survey

The survey was run among users of the RB Crew Mobile app, also known as RosterBuster. The app supports the roster systems of over 500 airlines worldwide and is used by both flight crew and cabin crew for their rosters, flight time limits, crew conversations and more. 

Survey audience composition

The survey audience consisted of a worldwide audience of pilot and cabin crew members.The total number of survey participants was 3922, where the number of flight deck crew respondents was 2789 (71,1%) and number of cabin crew respondents was 1133 (28,9%).

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Crew survey training audience composition.

Communication around training

On the topic of communication around training, crew reported the roster release as the main channel through which they are informed of upcoming training. This seems odd, as it is a limited and therefore not ideal channel. 

Through roster release, crew can only be informed about the fact -that- they have training, and when: no details about the type of training, the preparation needed or anything related can be communicated this way.

Furthermore, 85% of crew have reported that only one month’s notice is given for training details. This begs the question: does this give crew enough time to prepare or feel prepared for the training?

Beyond that, 30% of respondents noted that they did not receive any information upfront about the upcoming training. This does not help them with preparing for the training either.

Crew also responded with suggestions on improving the pre-training part.

Flight crew noted the following improvements:

  • Better briefings
  • More training content information
  • More materials and documents pre-training

While cabin crew responded with the following improvements:

  • More information on course content, agenda, location and logistics
  • More notice upfront
  • Study guides and materials

When it comes to communication around training and preparation for the training itself, the above responses speak for themselves. 

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Rating by flight crew and cabin crew on training communication and techniques.

Quality of training communication and training techniques are rated both as a 7. Room for improvement!

The quality of training itself

Feedback from crew members on the question about how they perceived training itself was not that encouraging. Keywords in their responses included ‘adequate’, ‘boring’. ‘old-fashioned’ for example. This is not encouraging for such an essential part of having a professional crew that is up the job in the air! 

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Crew describes their current training experiences in a few words.

Performance insights after training is completed

Having insight into their performance after training has completed was something that was a challenge for respondents: 39% reported that it was not easy to access performance-related information after training. 

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The pilot stream session at EATS 2019 in Berlin.

The ability of crew to give feedback on trainings

For continuous improvement of training, a proper feedback mechanism is essential. Otherwise, the instructors and trainers do not know if a training is at the best possible level for the crew:

  • Relevancy of the training
  • Up-to-date information and situations trained for
  • Quality of trainers and instructors

In response to the survey, 26% of crew said they aren’t able to make suggestions about future training methods/styles, and 12% of crew reported they aren’t able to give instructor or training feedback.

Conclusion from crew training survey: room for improvement in airline crew training

Based on the massive response RB Group received on the crew survey, a few main conclusions can be made:

  • Communications around training needs to be improved a lot.
  • The overall quality of training needs improvement.
  • Let crew know how they did after training (performance insights).
  • Have a proper feedback mechanism in place to be continuously improving training.

One recurring theme from the crew survey results is communication: either the limited communication overall on training, the way for crews to give feedback or other parts in communication that are lacking or limited. 

At its core, communication between an airline and its crew members should be efficient, complete and highly relevant: this includes communication on training. By improving on this, airlines will have a better trained, highly engaged and happy crew. In return, this will mean happy customers. 

If you need help with airline to crew communication, be sure to contact us at RB Group!

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EATS 2019

The European Airline Training Symposium (EATS) is the leading aviation training event for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. This annual conference and tradeshow is about aviation training and simulation, bringing together the industry’s leading professionals to promote safety and share best practices in pilot and cabin crew training.

RB Group at EATS

At RB Group we understand the daily challenges that airlines and crews face. We provide award-winning solutions for both crews and airlines. Discover more about RB Group.