In focus: pilots’ working conditions

2 May 2022

There is no surprise that the new business models and the COVID-19 pandemic have shaken the airline industry, profoundly impacting and reshaping crews’ working environment. Karolinska Institute is currently investigating the impact of these changes on pilots’ health, fatigue and ultimately, flight safety.

The survey on pilots’ working conditions and safety is a part of an ongoing research project on ‘sustainable flight safety‘ at Karolinska Institute, a renowned research-led medical university. ECA launched this survey early in March to investigate the effects of new business models and work conditions on pilots’ health, fatigue and flight safety, linking socio-economic aspects, health and safety.

The starting point was the 2018 ‘High-flying Risks’ study by Swedish Karolinska Institute, showing some disturbing and worrying results on how working conditions impact health and safety behaviours among Swedish pilots. Only later, due to COVID-related delay, the study was extended at the European level. The ongoing survey aims to provide the much-needed scientific empirical evidence for many issues our pilots’ experience in their daily work, linked to atypical employment, social engineering and safety repercussions.

One thousand one hundred pilots from over 70 air companies filled in the survey by the end of March, but each answer counts and will make the difference. Although the survey was launched early in March, participation is still possible. We encourage our affiliates to access the Karolinska survey here. Based on the outcomes of the study, we will define our future fight against atypical employment and its negative  effects on the health of the pilots, as well as on the flight safety!