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21 Dec 2015

EasyBid v5.00 and EASA FTLs - Feb 2016 IBS1

From 1 Feb 2016, and therefore from Feb 16 IBS1 bidding, BA moves to EASA FTLs. EasyBid v5.00 will be released, likely on Monday 21st December, which after much work, replaces the previous CAP 371 based scheme rules with EASA FTLs. BA have issued a Draft OM A for EASA FTLs, and are a necessary reference for how IBS1 & 2 bidding will be affected.

These FTLs are new to all, and you the bidder, we at EasyBid, BA and BALPA are likely to interpret and implement (e.g. in software) the rules in different ways - even before allowing for errors. Our advice would therefore to be cautious with regards to Trip Drops and Keeps, and be conservative if required Day Offs rely on a Trip dropping.

If you judge EasyBid may have misinterpreted a rule, please do let us know ASAP with details. We anticipate regular upgrades to EasyBid as our understanding develops, and will also keep this Newsletter 'updated' to reflect any important news. As ever, 'Internet => Latest News' will also be updated as required.

Feb IBS1 will be a challenge because the relevant BA staff will be away for most of the Bid Window, and unable to address any queries arising. We will endeavour to liaise with BALPA Schedulers as best possible to clarify queries, hence minimising the surprises in the Feb IBS2 Bidpack. As such we advise you, where possible, to keep your final IBS1 eBid submission as late as possible.

The 'transition' around 1 Feb 2016 is unclear. EasyBid takes the approach that from the Feb IBS1 bid we use the EASA ruleset, however, the effect of late Jan trips (including Feb Carry-In) may lead to a few "surprises".

For a general 'introduction' to EASA FTLs and bidding, we hope you find the following notes a useful 'starter for 10' for your research!

LH Fleets
'MBTR' is a BLR term, specifying the number of Local Nights between LH Trips you can be assigned - which you can bid to reduce, ultimately to single night at base between trips.

EASA has a form of MBTR, requiring a number of Local Nights after many trips before you can undertake a further duty (including a Ground Duty). The number of Local Nights depends on the Trip Length, and the maximum Time Difference from London the trip involves. Usually (but not always) the EASA Local Nights required are less than BLRs require at Line build. Please do NB that EASA can increase the Local Nights required when successive trips alternate between 'East' and 'West' from London.

You can be awarded LH Trips with 1 Local Night at base between (previously called a Back-to-Back - however EASA has a new meaning for this term), but require the 1st Trip of the pair to have a maximum time difference from London of 3 hours. We may find Africa (and a few other) trips becoming popular amongst commuters?

Effect? Due to BLRs MBTR, 'Line' construction is not anticpated to noticeably differ - often the only trip requring greater MBTR than on 2015 Lines was the long SIN-SYD. However, with either a Carry-In trip to IBS1, or bidding at IBS2, bidding is likely to be more restricted.

Example? If you start EasyBid (v5.00 or later) for IBS2 in a month (even 2015) where you had trips awarded at IBS1, you should see a number of IBS2A trips you previously would have been able to bid for, now generating FTL Infringements under EASA FTLs.

SH Fleets
The maximum block of 6 days assignable under BLRs remains as able to be increased to typically 7, occasionally 8, days before requiring a 'Short Break' (full day off - slightly longer under EASA). However, the "2 off in 14" ('Long Break') requirement has essentially gone - replaced with a monthly requirement that we think will less often require Trips dropped to comply.

(An example is the previous requirement for a 'Long Break' during a Reserve Period - this no longer exists, and the equivalent break(s) under EASA will be achieved during the FDOs, or even outside the RP.)

Longhaul v Shorthaul
BA are required to include in their EASA Scheme 'Operational Requirements', reinforcing certain EASA principles. BA have chosen to split these into separate Shorthaul and Longhaul rules, and do so via a new definition of 'Longhaul'. This is very different from the BLR definition - and as a guide:
744/777/380/787: almost all Trips will be 'Longhaul'
767: a mixture of Longhaul and Shorthaul trips
A320: all trips are currently 'Shorthaul'

We suggest you take care when applying LH v SH rules, especially given the differing BLR and Scheme definitions!

The EasyBid Team
andy@aghsoftware.com (01763) 287692
geoff@aghsoftware.com (01780) 767980
ellie@aghsoftware.com (01763) 287692

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