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Homechevron_rightWorldchevron_rightStress levels among...

Stress levels among commercial airline pilots shot up amid pandemic

Stress levels among commercial airline pilots shot up amid pandemic

Sydney: Pilots who flew long flights amid the pandemic suffered from high levels of stress. A survey among commercial airline pilots found that 75.5% of them worried over their uncertain futures, anti-social working hours, and the "divergence in values" between pilots and management.

The study conducted at the University of South Australia interviewed 49 commercial pilots in the Asia Pacific region, Europe and North America. Researchers noted that the findings should be a wake-up call to the aviation industry. 46-82% of pilots were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and grounded planes added to the stress.

Experts recommended that airlines install targeted workplace measures to support pilots and mitigate stress.

UniSA Senior Lecturer in Aviation Dr Silvia Pignata noted that pilots are traditionally reluctant to talk about their stress levels due to concerns over medical certifications that demand their physical and mental health. "The issue of work stress has been neglected by the aviation industry, even before the pandemic."

She added that airlines want to keep their fleet in the air as long as possible due to the consumer demand for travel. "Higher turnover rates mean more flight legs, increased workloads, and higher stress levels for pilots."

The new study found that long-haul pilots have the highest level of stress and medium-haul pilots have the lowest stress levels. Long-haul flights are known to affect the body clock of pilots. Flying across multiple time zones and working irregular hours takes a toll on the crew's physical and mental health.

Short-haul flights come with a different set of challenges and flying multiple routes a day increases mental fatigue. Repeated take-offs and landings affect their stress levels and their heart rates can reach 88bpm during landing.

Pilots of short-haul flights who were grounded during the pandemic reported to have enjoyed their time with family which improved their well-being.

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TAGS:airlines aviation industry pilot commercial pilot 
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