A couple of months back, at one of the roadshows, the EK recruitment team suggested that there was a swap system in place at EK - basically you find someone suitable to swap a duty with, enter the details on some online program and it's as good as done!
I'm guessing it is not as easy/efficient as the recruitment team would like people to believe but I am interested to hear from EK pilots about their experiences with this.
Do you guys share your roster info in order to find suitable swap candidates?
Ok I will just have to have a go at this one. I've kept my trap shut for a while so I can't resist.
The new computerised rostering system may sound wonderful in theory but in practise it is almost impossible to swap anything. As we are all on max hours particularly the captains, and they have a ban on going more then a couple of hours into O/T it is virtually useless.(O/T 92 hours). They have all sorts of crazy rules which are emirates generated, not GCAA. You need so many days before and after a long haul and restrictions on east then west or vice versa. You also are unable to swap at all from when the roster bidding is finished about the 12th of the month or I think 13th for F/Os until the rosters come out about the 25th give or take a day for their purposes. Rule no 120 I believe for those that are still working this out. These are just a few of the rules. I would assume many people tried many swaps leading up to xmas but got nowhere. About all you can do is if the trips are the exact same days and same length then maybe unless some other rule gets you. And get this, the latest letter from management said they are unable to even tell us what the rules are. We have been advised to just work it out as you go along. They are able to publish an OMA with 5000 rules we have to follow to the letter or face harsh retribution but they won't even publish the roster rules we have to live by.
As I have said in the past if you have a really terrible job in some crap place or have no job at all then come on down and start discovering but if you are even semi ok BEWARE BEWARE.
There is a computerised swap system but it has more bugs than a tramps beard- these are being slowly fixed. However, unless you are trying to swap one trip for another which more or less departs and arrives at the same time it is almost impossible. The swap computer knows all the flight time limitations of course but it also has various company restrictions which are not published. You only find out about those when you try to do a swap and it is refused.
Nobody has enough days off to be able to swap them so if you are thinking of trying to swap trips to get enough days off for commuting forget it.
It is better than nothing and it does have a facility where you can "advertise" trips that you want to get rid of, or want to operate. If somebody wants to do a swap you will get an automated e-mail with the details and you just give a yes or a no. You can also search for who is operating a particular trip on a particualr day and try to do a swap directly that way. If we had enough pilots (or fewer restrictions!) the system would probably work reasonably well.
Sorry guys, I humbly beg to differ. I believe the eswap is a fine evolution of the portal and has been introduced for our benefit.
Of course it has bugs which need to be worked out as with any new application(even Apple has this problem). I agree that the pilots workload is high and as a consequencee swaps are not easy to engineer. That is a fact of life but if you want to go to Munich iso Paris or SFO iso LAX, then there should be few limits. The system was never intended to change the profile of hours that the crew fly in a month. This means that it won't work for the guys that would like to commute.
In terms of the swap rules, the bulk of them are available in the Bid Assist packages which details time off before & time off after a trip. You guys know the FTL rules.....why should the company have to spell it out for you. Another big one is the 120 hours between east/west rotations which was introduced for the benefit of the pilots who were complaining about flights that would go east and then next flight would go west causing fatigue. This restriction was introduced to 'artificially' bias rosters to all eastbound or all westbound flights. Unfortunately this now causes problems when you want to swap as well, but we cannot have it both ways.
The fact that swaps are locked from the time bidding is closed(13th?) is a reasonable and practical limitation. By then you would have had almost 3 weeks in which to do your swapping. You cannot plan a pilot's flying for the next month when you do not know how many hours he is doing in the current month, hence the limit. Pain in the backside, sure but certainly not unreasonable.....
In short, I agree that the system is limited but at least IMHO the company is trying to provide tools to make life a little easier for us.
Apparently if a swap puts a crew menber over 90 hours in 28 days (for me that was 7 months of 2011) the swap will not be approved. The restriction is intended to provide a buffer of 10 hours to avoid the potential for busting 100 hours. And if a crew member is already over 90 hours, lets say 95 hours and the swap would reduce his hours to less than 95 but still more than 90 the swap will not be approved because the computer does not recognise the reduction, only that the crew member is over 90 hours. This is the quality of the program that EK uses for its swap control and what we are up against.
I think the point I was trying to make is that the system may be ok if they didnt have so many stupid emirates aditional rules which make any swap except for a direct same day almost impossible. Why is it that I have worked for 3 other proper airlines and they had anything from 300 to 1000 pilots and they didnt need to close bidding for two weeks. The system was not designed to help us out but to make their jobs easier. They now dont have to receive 1000 emails each month requesting a change. They of course got so many because their rostering is crap in the first place. You are of course entitled to your opinion and its wonderful if you can see a bright side to everything they do. I am unfortunately a realist and based on their past history of take take take this system was not designed to help anyone but themselves. Who the hell in an airline this size refuses to even publish the rules. They want to keep it as grey as possible so they can change the rules at a moments notice without actually admitting that. I am just saying that it would actually be a good system if they just let it do its thing without all the artifical AAR impossed restrictions. Anyway I hope your optimism is well placed and it ends up good but I fear there is only one way for that to happen and it looks like we are stuck with that problem for the foreseable future.
Apparently if a swap puts a crew menber over 90 hours in 28 days (for me that was 7 months of 2011) the swap will not be approved. The restriction is intended to provide a buffer of 10 hours to avoid the potential for busting 100 hours.
Had this very problem, the buffer has been reduced to 5 hours
Thanks for all the comments. It's nice to get some real insider view of things.
Sounds like the swap system is not really working very well - which is a pity.
I have many gripes with my current employer but at least the swap system works well (at times). I just managed to swaps days either side of Xmas and will be able to spend one week back home. However, during the summer it does not work that well - as people are running high on hours.
Do you guys run close to 90hrs every month?
Do you feel this will get better as EK recruit more pilots... or will the ratio of pilots to AC remain the same?
Do you guys run close to 90hrs every month? Do you feel this will get better as EK recruit more pilots... or will the ratio of pilots to AC remain the same?
2004 we were told sorry you will be working harder but don't worry it is only to help us as we are short of drivers.....Lost count of the times they have been singing this song. I know each year I check my log book the hrs get higher and been nudging 900 each year now for the past 3 yrs with flying 90 plus hrs a month normal . As others have mentioned the 90 plus hr a month is here to stay.
If a swap creates a Day Off in place of a Duty even if another Day Off is lost as part of the Swap, Crew Control may and have turned that new Day Off into an AD (Available Day) and then into a Flight Duty as they feel inclined.
'They' tried to inflict this on me last month and someone mentioned on the internal board that it just happened to them too.