Arab News: Autonomous Aircraft, Pilot Shortage And The Future Of Travel

Aug 30, 2021

Could a computer fly hundreds of passengers in an aircraft at a cruising altitude of 35,000 feet for hours on end, and also handle the landing and take-off?

Speaking to Arab News, Michael Wette, IMEA Transportation & Services Head at Oliver Wyman (Middle East), noted that “Most of the pilots’ organizations and the airline managers we speak to are very skeptical about these independent flying computers.”

“In this, the security aspect of it is the biggest hurdle and issue. The safety of passengers is until today ensured through the professional training and the experience of the pilots, especially when it comes to non-standard situations,” he said.

While there is currently a surplus of pilots, a shortage is expected again soon. Wette also noted that technical studies such as Project Connect would likely continue.

He added that nearly 25,000 pilots were furloughed due to Covid-19 pandemic, but 75 percent of them had returned to their jobs as flight activity had picked up in recent months. However, others were still on extended leave and almost 10,000 pilots had taken early retirement packages and left the job market due to the global health crisis.

The full story can be read here