Pilots recently came forward saying that pilot exhaustion was on the rise, and they’re pressing the airlines to treat fatigue and the mistakes that result as a safety risk. The causes, the pilots say, include cancellation chaos caused by severe weather, and climbing demand for air travel that still-recovering airlines can’t keep up with.
This is part of the reason air travel is a disaster right now with airfares being 50% more than last summer and more than 2,500 flights across the U.S. were canceled over the Memorial Day weekend.
Pilots are quitting in droves because of the physical demand.
No one understands this better than Glenn Gonzales. He is a former military pilot and co-founder of hybrid-fractional ownership private jet company Jet It. So, he knows just how important it is for companies to implement policies and programs that combat this fatigue.
So, what can be done? Here are some examples of the steps Jet It is taking to prevent pilot fatigue that other companies can also institute:
• Offer Overtime Pay: At Glenn’s company, pilots are salaried. But, if they fly over a certain number of hours, they are compensated accordingly. So, hard work pays off and shows how much the company values the pilots’ time.
• Implement an Unlimited Vacation Day Policy: The pilots can take a vacation with no limitations allowing them time to recoup and reset from a busy work schedule.
• Start a Pilot Concierge Program: While the passengers on the plane are treated like royalty, so too are the pilots. There is a dedicated pilot concierge service that will handle things like food requests, hotel changes, and more.
• Have a No Penalty Fatigue Call Out Policy: If a pilot ever feels fatigued, they are encouraged to call out. There is no penalty and no questions asked. This ensures pilots feel comfortable speaking up when they feel overworked.
• Use Fatigue Risk Software: Glen’s company invested in technology used by NASA that’s designed to make fatigue risk management decisions easy. Essentially, the program uses biometrics and scheduling to assess if a pilot could be hitting a point of fatigue and alerts the manager to pull the pilot from the schedule and allow some down time.