Aviation

Nearly 25% Air India pilots not fit for flying

DELHI

Air India rejected nearly 40 pilots out of 160, on the basis of feedback from psychologists. This is for the first time that the airline chose to carry out such tests on candidates, with Air Force psychologists being made a part of the interview panel.

This is also the first such attempt by an airline, as per a report in The Economic Times, to have mental fitness as a criterion for pilots’ selection.

Close on the heels of a Germanwings co-pilot deliberately crashing a plane carrying 150 people, killing all, there have been calls for airlines to test the mental health of their pilots. Andreas Lubitz, the 27-year-old co-pilot of Germanwings Flight 9525, crashed the plane in the French Alps on March 24.

Lubitz was later reported to have researched suicide prior to the fatal flight and had received treatment for depression, besides being declared “unfit to work” by a doctor. The Air India mental fitness test found endorsement from the directorate general of civil aviation even though it left the airline unable to fill nearly 119 vacancies for pilots in its latest recruitment drive.

The sheer number of those found unfit for flying raises some serious questions about the mental health of pilots. Other airlines would do well to emulate Air India in this regard, so that they can be alerted to slipping mental health of pilots and can pre-emptively intervene.

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