Airlines Industry and it’s Staff Condition Due COVID-19 Bhawana Aggarwal IIM-s

Airlines Industry and it’s Staff Condition Due COVID-19

Bhawana Aggarwal

Beginning of 2020, a sudden news of Covid-19 outbreak was spread everywhere. It started to spread from China to all over the world. Many countries stop their international flights. Many Airlines face a huge loss due to sudden suspension of pre booked flights. A huge panic and stress spread all over the world. No one knows how to deal with the situation. An unknown disease attack on a huge population. People falling ill and dying because of an unknown virus. According to WHO data from November 15, 2020, over 55 Million people worldwide were confirmed to be infected, and over 1,490,000 people have died. This is not stopped with physical illness, but this pandemic also hits the mental stress level of people. Airlines who are in operational become a big concern for the Airline staff for their Jobs and salary, staff includes Pilots, Cabin Crew and other operational staff. No one knows how to treat this virus and how to deal with these harsh conditions?

To contain the virus, many countries have implemented curfews, contact bans, closed restaurants, schools, kindergartens, nurseries, borders, and travel restrictions. This results in a huge financial crisis which helps to increase depression, anxiety, and stress symptoms among the general population.

Impact on Airlines Industry:

It was the beginning of 2020, after a happy and prosperous year 2019, During which Airlines working with their normal working style. Many national and international Airlines work simultaneously, some rise with good profit while, some face huge losses. It was reported that the total number of passengers carried on scheduled services rose to 4.5 billion in 2019, which is 3.5 percent higher than the previous year, while the number of departures reached 38.5 million in 2019, a 1.8 percent increase. 

Executive Director of the cross-Industry Air Transport Action Group, Michael Gill said: “With the expectation that we will see less than half the passenger traffic this year than we carried in 2019, we know that a lot of Jobs in Air transport and the wider economy relying on aviation are at risk.

The Airline Industry is severely affected by the restrictions, not only because of the formal travel bans but also because of voluntary restrictions, such as replacing business trips with online meetings on zoom and other platforms. For example: the largest German Airline Lufthansa, lost 1 million euros per hour in April as per its financials.

According to analysis around 5 million Jobs in aviation may be lost by the beginning of next year, a 43% reduction from pre-covid levels. After expanding those effects across all the Jobs aviation would normally support, 46 million Jobs are at risk. These Jobs roles also include highly skilled aviation roles, the wider tourism Jobs impacted by the lack of Air travel and employment throughout the supply chain in construction, catering supplies, professional services and all the other things required to run a global transport system.

Around 60% of tourists arrive at their destination by Air and the stop in Air traffic has created a massive negative effect on that Industry as well. Over $631 billion in reduced GDP benefits from Air travel-related tourism will be matched with 26.4 million Jobs lost. But tourism in a wider sense is also very hard-hit, with analysis suggesting the pandemic could translate into a drop of 850 million to 1.1 billion international tourists and a loss of $910 billion to $1.2 trillion in export revenues from tourism, putting 100 to 120 million direct tourism Jobs at risk.

Impacts on Pilot and Cabin Crew staff:

Employees under the Aviation Industry are facing many mental problems before the pandemic such as depression, anxiety, fatigue, and sleep problems more than the normal population. This is because of many reasons such as night work, a very early start of work, long Flying hours, long time shifts, and impAirment of the biorhythm. In general, irregular working hours, due to shift work and/or night work, can increase the incidence of physical and psychological problems. Cabin Crews are particularly affected by anxiety and post-traumatic stress following Air accidents. Although the vast majority of flights run without incident, still up to 37% of Cabin personnel feel anxiety before take-off. 

After the outbreak of Covid-19 it was found that their mental health effects too much. Earlier problems of depression, anxiety, fatigue, and sleep problems increased with this pandemic. Now they also have a fear of loss in Job and salary cut like: 

Spice Jet cut 50% of employee’s salary because of loss due to pandemic.

Air India also announced a cut in Pilots and Crew staff salary is about 40%, but according to Pilots and Crew staff the cut in salary is about 65%. Many AirIndia Crew members already lose their Jobs. 

British Airways, Consulting on cuts of up to 12,000 Jobs and to downgrade the terms and conditions of approximately 36,000 Employees.

The UK flag carrier had around 45,500 employees going into the crisis.

In early May, Virgin Atlantic announced that it was cutting 3,500 positions out of its total talent pool.

In late April, Scandinavian Airline SAS said that 5,000 of its staff, or nearly half of its 11,000-strong pre-virus workforce, were being made permanently redundant. 

In late March, TAP Air Portugal “temporarily” laid off 90% of its workforce, which numbered around 14,000 employees.

Wizz Air said in April that it would cut around a fifth of its workforce – some 1,000 positions.

The biggest Australasian operators, Australian flag carrier Qantas announced in late June that the group’s restructuring will involve 6,000 roles across the company being made redundant.

This data clearly expresses the mental condition of Pilots and Cabin Crew staff. They are in constant fear of loss in Jobs and high salary cuts. This is the time to find new ways of earning and stop depending on a single Job. 

Bhawana Aggarwal [MBA IIM-s]

Manager FinTech

AirCrews Aviation Pvt. Ltd.



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