Experience Levels

Called off airport standby, two other crew from airport standby were on their first operational flight having never flown before and completed one familiarisation/supernumerary flight. I questioned level of experience, was assured 4th crew member was classified as experienced. When 4th crew member arrived I was informed that this was only¬† their 5th flight with operator, but in 2018 had worked for another carrier for two months, but couldn’t be sure how many flights they had done there.¬† I rang the Management Team who assured me this counts as experienced.¬† Just because a crew member holds an attestation from another carrier this is no proof of how many flights they have completed.¬† I was assured that we met all the requirements and we were OK to operate.¬† Captain was involved in the whole process.¬† Flight was smooth and uneventful and I had no reason to doubt the ability of the other crew.

Company Comment

Our Planning and Crewing department track the experience levels of each individual crew member for every flight. As a result of an intense Cabin Crew recruitment phase, involving a lot of inexperienced crew joining, this has been tracked and complied with very carefully throughout the summer flying program.

Inevitably there are occasions where the total crew compliment meets the experience requirements (as in this reported case), but questions are raised on the day. On these occasions, the Senior Cabin Crew are empowered to call Crewing and request an additional experienced crew to join their flight from SBY.  This procedure, designed to support our crew members, was introduced via a Crew Bulletin. At the time of this incident, the policy applied to specific aircraft flights only, however as a result of this report, extending the policy to other aircraft types is now under review.

CAA Comment

Operators are required to establish a process in accordance with AMC1 ORO.CC.100 to ensure the rostering of experienced cabin crew to flights. Whilst there is nothing that prevents an operator from taking account of previous experience, a cabin crew attestation alone is not evidence.

AMC1 ORO.CC.100 states: when scheduling cabin crew for a flight, the operator should establish procedures that take account of the experience of each cabin crew member. The procedures should specify that the required cabin crew includes some cabin crew members who have at least 3 months experience as an operating cabin crew member.

Some operators stipulate in their operations manual an additional experienced crew member is required however, some operators do not, technically as long as one crew member is experienced on board then that meets regulatory requirements.

It can be more challenging to operate on an aircraft with an inexperienced crew than one with an experienced crew, and CHIRP is sympathetic to the crew in that circumstance. Naturally, experienced crew should assist new crew members whenever feasible, as we were all new once. Since all new crew members have undergone intense training, one could counter that, from the standpoint of an emergency, someone who has just finished their training is more familiar with the emergency procedure than someone who is about to have their annual recurrent; however, even though they may have received recent training, they may not be as confident in using these procedures. Keep in mind that safety comes first, so any service-related tasks should come after any safety-related tasks. If the senior needs to change the in-flight service to reflect this, they should document the reason why so that the operator can monitor their reports for trends.