Point of View

Is this the answer to the airline labor shortage?


By 2026, US airlines alone will need to recruit 480,000 new technicians and 350,000 pilots just to keep pace with demand [1]. Worldwide, the industry will be short of 80,000 pilots by 2023 [2].

Already, labor shortages are grounding flights [3]. And disruption due to unfilled jobs is forecast to last for at least another decade [4].

As the sector works hard to make up for lost ground over the last few years, amid happily rising passenger demand, it must find a way to overcome these labor shortages. 

The perk that other sectors can't match

In the struggle to attract talented staff to the sector, and to your airline, there is almost no tool as potent, no perk as popular, as staff travel. For decades, the sector has attracted the best, brightest and most hard-working, because they had an itch to see the world.

This remains true today. The question is, how to get the most possible traction out of this benefit, and use it to attract the biggest number of new workers possible, then keep them. And there's a catch. With fuel and labor costs rising, airlines are under pressure to cut costs like never before [5].

How can airlines improve the travel experience they offer their staff, while at the same time controlling and even reducing costs? That can't be done. Can it?

The answer is right before us

At IBS Software, we believe it is possible for airlines to offer their staff a radically improved travel experience, and cut costs. They can do this by using the New Distribution Capability (NDC) standard.

The goal of NDC is to make it easier for airlines to offer a wider range of personalized options through travel agents, just as they would through their own websites. But there's no reason why the technology can't also be used to connect staff-travel platforms, such as iFly Staff, to the NDC gateway of other airlines for interline travel.

It could also be used to provide new staff travel products, such as dynamically priced firm travel, which may appeal to airline employees who don't want to run the risk of travelling on a standby basis. 

How NDC can improve staff travel

At IBS Software, we're working on enhancements to our iFly Staff system. This initiative will allow airlines using the solution to connect seamlessly with other airlines, for interline travel and ancillary services, which would make your employees' lives much easier. When they want to take a holiday, they can book their entire trip, including:

  • Both online and interline travel
  • Journey-related extras, such as increased baggage allowance, lounge access etc.
  • As well as third-party products, such as hotels, car hire, leisure-activity bookings, travel insurance etc.

When they're planning their trips, the staff member will find everything they need in one place. He or she can choose the flights, extras and third-party options that fit their needs. The platform will process the payment and everything will be part of a single booking.

Easy, simple and stress free, this new way of providing staff with travel perks would deliver a whole of trip experience, giving your staff the same ease and quality of experience, and the same range of products and services, as customers.

For the airline, our initiative will allow you to work with other carriers and third parties to offer staff an improved experience. By reducing both system and workflow complexity, the system will also help you cut the time, and the cost, associated with administering staff travel. In one stroke, you'd be able to offer staff a more enjoyable travel experience, a major tool in the effort to recruit and retain talent, and you'd be in a position to cut the costs and overheads associated with staff travel.

What next?

IBS Software needs to know from you, the industry, what you think of this initiative? Is it something that you'd find useful and be interested in? Are there particular features or functions you'd like it to offer?

Whether you just have feedback, or you want to work with us, we want to hear from you. Get in touch!

Warren Daws, Senior Director - Staff & Corporate Travel

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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