The airline staffing crisis is raising concerns about pilot fatigue

Pilots fall asleep in flight, do not land

Watch Watch: Pilots fall asleep in flight, don’t land


A new report that two airline pilots fell asleep during a flight and failed to land has given the public a rare glimpse into life behind the cockpit door in an era COVID-19.

Couple At the same time, Ethiopian Airlines pilots were dozing off when they were supposed to land the plane, according to an industry news site Aviation Bulletin. They woke up just as the autopilot went off and the alarm went off.

While investigators look into what exactly happened during the flight, one thing is already well known: Airlines around the world are facing shortages of pilots and other crew members, which can lead to worker exhaustion and burnout.

“I think it shows a growing concern among pilots around the world that they’re just overworked and needing to work more overtime because of the pilot shortage,” Lindsay Reschke, a travel and hospitality analyst at Morning Consult, told CBS News.

What is behind the pilot shortage?

As COVID-19 spread in 2020 and 2021, with airline operations nearly at a standstill, carriers offered thousands of pilots early retirement to cut costs. An aging workforce has also resulted in a significant number of older pilots retiring on schedule, further reducing the number of available flyers.

Meanwhile, there is no quick fix, Reschke said, noting that even a pay raise is ineffective because it simply encourages pilots to move to higher-paying airlines rather than expanding the pilot pool.

“Airlines can hire as many staff as they want, but it takes a long time to train and certify pilots. It’s not only a time commitment, but also a financial commitment to invest for pilots when they initially go through these stages,” said Roeschke. “So, unfortunately, everything that happened during the pandemic has a long tail.”

Storms and airline staff shortages wreak havoc on travel


The best way to stop pilot fatigue as well as reduce strain flight delays and cancellations Experts say airlines should reduce their schedules. So London’s Heathrow Airport said this summer that it would limit the number of daily passengers 100,000, and also ordered airlines to stop selling tickets for summer flights.

“That’s not what we want to hear as travelers, but at the same time cutting some of these routes and lowering expectations about how many flights the airlines will actually be able to operate will help avoid last-minute delays.” and cancellations,” she said.

Reschke added: “In the short term, it could make flights a little bit harder, maybe a little bit more expensive, maybe a little bit more crowded, which is certainly not a good thing for passengers to hear. But it will help deter those who show up at the airport and find out ‘your flight is cancelled’, those kinds of experiences that are worse than the alternative.”

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