Coronavirus – Meeting the Training Challenges Together

June 2, 2021 0 Comments

Air traffic growth expands two-fold once every 15 years. This growth can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, traffic growth is a sign of increased living standards, social mobility and generalized prosperity. On the other hand, air traffic growth can lead to increased safety risks if it is not properly supported by the regulatory framework and infrastructure needed. The unending growth in demand means that, as the numbers ramp up, development of innovative, effective and efficient training in all aviation principles is critical.

However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the aviation industry is facing further challenges as there has been a reduction in air traffic which means that most aviation professionals are not performing their normal tasks, sometimes they are doing a substantially different job, and sometimes not working at all or at a substantially reduced frequency. This creates a reduction in the skills and knowledge of aviation professionals, and with it associated safety risks.

The backbone of every industry is its workforce. The aviation industry is driven by skilled manpower, which is key to its success. Therefore, it is important that the workforce has its share of people and talent and is constantly up skilled.

The current circumstances have led to reduced focus and prioritisation of safety of airport personnel. According to EASA, safety and safety management are not implemented with the same level of attention and resources as previously available. The factors which have contributed to this include distraction and stress at a personal level, and economic pressures and the practical pressures of returning to service at an organisational level.

Furthermore, competent Authority staff had to adapt their oversight activities to meet the COVID-19 related restrictions, one key difference being their ability to undertake on-site visits with these having been difficult or impossible to arrange due to social distancing and national lockdown. This means that the oversight is not as in-depth and in many cases the time periods between checks has increased. The issue may become a limiting factor on capacity during a return to operations or will cause fatigue or overload where there is a reduced number of personnel providing services.

Changes and challenges should be welcomed and embraced. Within aviation, changes are forced upon us by legislation, technology and in the current circumstances – by a global pandemic. Consequently, we change operations and training to adapt. But we can also implement changes as the result of a desire to improve things- make things better. By regularly reviewing how we train and the outcomes we achieve, can implement the necessary changes and training can continuously contribute to a better and safer aviation industry.  

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