Finnair has become the first commercial carrier to develop crew schedules based on Boeing unit Jeppesen's recently introduced fatigue risk management system, which is integrated with its crew management solution suite.
The carrier said it is the first carrier to use "alertness modelling", assisted by Boeing research, to assess a pilot's state of mental tiredness.
Thirty-four Finnair pilots volunteered to take part in the research over 400 days. The results were compared with those predicted by the alertness model and, said the carrier, correlated well enough to convince the airline to introduce it to line service in full from this autumn.
The modelling takes into account time differences and other aspects to aid roster planning, highlighting potential scheduling risks that might create lower alertness among crews.
Finnair vice-president for safety Antii Aukia said roster planning had been "very subjective" up to now, and added: "The information gathered by the new tool provides a scientific basis for planning, so we can now influence flightcrew rosters by scheduling work better than before."
Jeppesen's integrated solution uses predictions based on the Boeing Alertness Model developed jointly with the airframer, which is based on a modified version of the long-validated Three Process Model of Alertness. It uses circadian and homeostatic components to forecast fatigue.
"We have, as do most airlines, a fair distance still to cover in mastering crew fatigue," said Aukia. "After collecting operational data to gain confidence in the Boeing Alertness Model, we have now integrated the model with Jeppesen's scheduling optimisation capabilities, which we believe will be absolutely central for our operations.
"We've introduced this functionality fully within our other safety barriers and we are now able to guide our crew rosters away from fatigue from the start, based on sound scientific principles."
Jeppesen aviation portfolio management director Tim Huegel said: "In addition to the improvements in the roster creation process, Finnair now incorporates analysis capabilities with our solution, placing them ahead of the competition for evaluating the effects of scheduling rule changes and enabling more efficient compliance with upcoming regulatory changes."
The company has also recently released a related Apple iPhone mobile application, called CrewAlert, which gives the user an insight into how sleep science applies to crew schedules.
CrewAlert is intended for use by crew schedulers, crew members, government regulators and scientists to determine predicted levels of alertness.