Award

The block that is awarded to you at the end of the bidding process can be viewed via the crew interface.

 

The block report contains the bid period schedule, the bid validation code, the bid analysis and the final score. The bid analysis lists the crew member’s selected bid options and the corresponding score.

See your Award

Go to Reports > Block Reports and select the bid period for which you want to view the awarded blocks.

Awarding Process

So, it is the end of current bid period and all bids are due. What happens next?

 

Bid options are given a positive direction (Desire) or negative direction (Avoid). Assigning Desire or Avoid is the method you use to tell the Solver that you do or don’t want that particular activity (pairing, layover, etc.) on your block.

 

Bids using Desire will get positive points every time the condition is met. Bids using Avoid get negative (penalty) points every time the condition is met. Since the goal of the Solver is to give you as many points as it can, it will try to avoid as many occurrences of your undesirable conditions and it will strive to give you as many instances of your desired requests as possible.

 

There are usually 2 ways to state a request: to Desire something or to Avoid the alternative. For example, you can say “Desire sit times less than 2 hours” or “Avoid sit times greater than 2 hours”. These 2 bids may look alike, but there is a significant difference in how they are treated in PBS .

 

Using the desire bid will encourage the Solver to load up your block with as many short sit times under 2 hours as it can, since it gets positive points for each one it can put on your block. Thus you will probably favor pairing with lots of short legs since they have more sit time in them. But if you use the avoid bid, then PBS  will simply try to avoid as many long sit times as it can, and it will not try to load up your bid with short ones.

 

Options that are not used in your bid are considered “neutral”. This means that they will be scored 0 if assigned to your block. This does not raise or lower your score.

Solutions Are Produced By Categories

The Altitude PBS  system builds customized blocks for all crew members. Solutions are produced by categories. In each category, blocks are built in seniority order and tailored to the crew members’ personal requests. Planned activities, such as vacations, are taken into account so that PBS  does not build blocks with conflicts. All categories are solved.

 

When the block building process is started for a given category, the first step is to extract the information from the input files so it is validated by the system. The system works within established rules (FAR’s and the crew members agreement, labor contracts and scheduling rules) to govern the block building process.

Inner Workings

Bear in mind that your award is based on the interaction of all the bid options you enter in your bid and the weights you apply to each. Each bid option can be thought of as applying a force, or pressure, pushing your award in one direction or another. The bid options you choose control the direction of the pressures applied. The weights you choose for each option (and their natural leverage) control the relative strength of the pressures applied. By choosing to activate the “desire” rather than the “avoid” parameter you indicate whether the forces are pulling or pushing.

 

Your final award is the block that gives you the highest possible total score subject to prevailing restrictions. When maximizing the score of a crew member, the Solver takes into account that person’s fixed activities and the pairings that are available when their block is awarded.

Examples

 

Assign a lower weight to anything that accumulates by the hour; 1 or 2 points for instance.

 

Giving one request a higher weight than another does not mean that the request with the higher weight is awarded first. The system strives to award the flying that accumulates the highest overall points in the crew member’s block award. To do so, the following is taken into account:

 

Maintain a reasonably good gap when prioritizing the same type of bid option.

 

Suppose you need three specific days off during the month: X, Y, and Z. These days off are not equally important to you. You want X off more than Y and Y off more than Z.

 

In the grand scheme of things and considering the huge number of calculations the solver has to make, assigning X, Y, and Z, weights of 1000, 999, and 998 respectively, may not make a big difference. This means you could get Z before you get X and Y because the overall point difference is minimal. However, assigning X, Y, and Z weights of 1000, 750, and 500 respectively would most likely maintain their priority to the solver.