Survey Finds Over 50% Of World’s Airline Pilots Are No Longer Flying

Europe survey Eva Pilot - File picture of pilots - Aviatorsbuzz
Representational picture of pilots. Source: Speedbird/Twitter

A poll of nearly 2,600 pilots by UK-based GOOSE Recruitment and FlightGlobal has found that only 43 percent were doing the job they had trained for – flying aircraft.

Amid the plunge in demand during the coronavirus pandemic, The Pilot Survey 2021 Report found that those pilots who are still flying feel less valued by their employers.

Survey Says It All

Reuters reported that a poll of nearly 2,600 pilots by UK-based GOOSE Recruitment and industry publication FlightGlobal, released on Thursday, found only 43 per cent were doing the job they had trained for, with 30 per cent unemployed, 17 per cent furloughed and 10 per cent in non-flying roles.

Many pilots that are still flying have faced deteriorating working conditions, the report said. Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific Airways Limited, for example, instituted permanent pay cuts of up to 58 per cent, and Turkish Airways and Singapore Airlines Limited have temporarily lowering salaries.

Flightglobal in a post said that The Pilot Survey 2021 Report aimed to highlight and establish trends in employment rates, pay, job seeking and retention, employee engagement, mental health and the future of aviation and pilots.

“The data collected in this survey represent a huge crosssection of the marketplace. Many airlines may recognise the breakdown from their flightcrew. We look to uncover the changes that we have seen since our last survey and expose the good and the bad of the industry, looking at employment from a pilot’s perspective and discovering where the industry excels and where it falls short,” it said.

“We can see the effect the pandemic has had on employed pilots too,” GOOSE Recruitment chief executive officer and founder Mark Charman, said in a statement adding that large numbers (of pilots) are feeling insecure about their jobs, while an increased number are planning to look for new roles this year as well as many feeling less valued by their employers.

Delta Pilots at Capitol Hill
File photo of Delta Pilots at Capitol Hill. Source: Delta/Instagram

Survey blames Pandemic

For the unemployed pilots in the survey, 84 per cent said it was due to the pandemic. Before COVID-19 hit, there had been widespread pilot shortages that had driven up demand for aviators and led to improving pay and conditions.

Now, 82 per cent of unemployed pilots would take a pay cut for a new opportunity, it found.

For those that have kept their jobs, pilots in Europe reported being the most stressed by COVID-19, with respondents citing the risk of catching the virus, disjointed rules and the possibility of being placed in quarantine during a rotation as among their concerns.

As much as 40 percent of pilots said their mental health had been affected by the pandemic, with the figure higher among younger pilots. “The amount of stress and anxiety the pandemic has caused me has permanently scarred my outlook on life,” Reuters reported one of 2,800 pilots as having said.

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