EMPLOYEE- TO- PASSENGER RATIO 22
TheRelationship between Employee-to-Passenger Ratio and SubstantialIncidents inCommercial Air Transportation
ASCI691 Graduate Capstone Proposal
Submittedto the Worldwide Campus
InPartial Fulfillment of the Requirements of the Degree of
Masterof Aeronautical Science
Thepurpose of this quantitative analysis is to study the relationshipbetween the independent variable of employee-to-passenger ratio andthe dependent variable of substantial incidents experienced in U.S.commercial aviation from 2000 to 2013. Regression analysis will beused to indicate whether the workload of commercial airlineemployees’ jobs, calculated as the ratio of the number of employeesto the number of airline passengers in any given quarter, isassociated with the number of substantial incidents that have takenplace over the past several years. This analysis can, in turn, beused to determine whether higher workloads could serve as precursorsfor reduced commercial aviation safety in the United States.
Keywords:commercialaviation workload, workload and safety
TheRelationship between Employee-to-Passenger Ratio and SubstantialIncidents inCommercial Air Transportation
Theobjective of this quantitative study will be to study therelationship between the independent variable ofemployee-to-passenger ratio and the dependent variable of substantialincidents experienced in U.S. commercial aviation from 2000 to 2013in order to reach empirically justified conclusions about therelationship between commercial aviation workload and an importantmeasure of commercial aviation safety.
Thescope of the study is delimited to the United States, and inparticular to (a) the number of commercial aviation employees in theUnited States, (b) the number of commercial airline passengers in theUnited States, and (c) the number of substantial safety incidents inthe United States.
Themethodology for the study is quantitative, specifically linearregression. The independent variable of the study isemployee-to-passenger ratio, calculated on a quarterly basis for the224 months between January, 2000 and December, 2013. The UnitedStates Department of Transportation’s monthly report on airlineemployment will be used to determine how many employees worked inU.S. commercial aviation for each of the 224 months in the sample.The United States Department of Transportation’s monthly report onairline passengers will be used to determine how many passengers werein the U.S. commercial aviation system for each of the 224 months inthe sample. Dividing the number of employees by the number ofpassengers for each month will yield an employee-to-passenger ratio.The dependent variable of the study will be the number of substantialincidents reported every month in the FAA Accident and Incident DataSystem (AIDS). Linear regression will then be used to answer thefollowing research question:
RQ1:Is there a statistically significant relationship betweenemployee-to-passenger ratio and the number of substantial incidentsreported for every month from January, 2000 to December, 2013?
Theaviation industry measures the effectiveness of the performance ofthe aviation industry by comparing the number of employees to thenumber of passengers served in the aviation industry. The most commonapproach looks at the seat flown per mile over one mile. The approachdoes not consider whether the seat is occupied or not (IATA,2007).This shows that the calculation of employee to passenger ratio isbased on the number of seats flown per mile and not necessarily theactual number of passengers flown. The current American aircraftsystem has a total number of 100 licensed airlines that cater for atotal of 745 million passengers per year (IATA,2007).The passenger air line industry currently has a total of 545, 000employees. The most favorable employee to passenger ratio is one to1,999 (IATA,2007).This is an annual ratio and it measures the employee’s productivityin the industry.
Changesin the American airline industry forced many airlines to review theirbusiness strategies and one of the impacts of this review was adecrease in the number of employees. The drastic reduction ofemployee numbers was then followed by an increase in passengers asthe cost of flying reduced due to industrial changes (IATA,2007).The market changes have resulted in a number of accidents that havebeen attributed to fatigue on the employees. The number of hoursworked by employees is measured against the miles flown and this isthe rationale used when determining the number of employees perpassenger.
Additionally,the high cost of training has forced airlines to retain a fairlystable number of employees. This business strategy is meant to reducecost by utilizing the available employees for the entire industry.This leads to fatigue and over working as the employees have littletime to rest. The strategy does not include the fact that the numberof passengers being served by the industry has risen over the years,necessitating for a corresponding increase in the number ofemployees. Changes in the industry have reduced profitability andairlines cut costs by having fewer employees serving a largepopulation of passengers. This problem leads to human errors thatresult from fatigue, causing accidents that are otherwise avoidable.
Thereduced number of employees indicates higher workload as therecommended industry number should be one employee to five hundredpassengers per year. This is measured per the number of miles flown.A higher employee- to- passenger ratio means lower workload foremployees and this can reduce the number of accidents that are as aresult of human errors resulting from being over worked (IATA,2007).There are a total of eleven major accidents reported since January2000 to December 2013. These cover a wide area of study starting fromsecurity breaches to small accidents within the aircraft (IATA,2007).The comparison also focuses on the size of the aircraft. The largerthe aircraft, the higher the number of ground employees required.This means that the number of employees allocated per aircraft variesdepending on the size of the aircraft.
Inaddition to this, the airline industry has maintained a constantnumber of employees, despite the constant rise in the number ofpassengers. Based on the aviators measure of employee workload, theemployees remain overworked as they work for more hours and milesthat the recommended. The employees have to put in extra time andmiles so as to cover the demand for air transport. The management isnot interested in increasing the number of employees as this willlead to increased costs. As a result, management prefers to retainthe existing number of employees despite the rise in the number ofpassengers.
Inmancarried out a research activity that investigated the effects offumes released by airplanes. They used qualitative study andinvestigated the number of deaths in a year that were related to thenumber of deaths. The study focused on covering large populations asairplane fumes are carried over vast distances by the wind. Theresearch found that there are indeed many deaths that are related tothe inhalation of harmful fumes released by airplanes. The deaths arealso not confined to the areas around the airports as the fumes arecarried by the wind to other areas. This shows that airplane fumesare dangerous to entire populations and are not limited to areasaround the airports only.
Airlineaccidents usually result in major environmentalimpactsas the accidents are of a large scale. Internal accidents such asexhaust fumes cause large numbers of deaths. This is becauseaircrafts depend on internal supply of oxygen so as to keep peoplesafe at high altitude. Any fumes released causeslarge numbers of deaths, which leads to other environmental accidentssuch as airplane crashes that impact negatively on the environment.Recent studies show that airplane crashes have resulted in about onethousand deaths per year (Inman,2010).This number is still very high considering that the industry hasexperienced a couple of changes that are meant to use technology toreduce the number of accidents.
Airplaneshave been known to cause environmental pollution through emissionsthat are made during takeoff and landing. These emissions are harmfuland in some cases, they result in death. However, research provesthat there are more deaths to the population that result fromunregulated emissions made by aircrafts that fly above 3,000 meters(Inman,2010).These emissions cause environmental pollutions that are as a resultof air pollutant fumes such as nitrogen oxides and sulphur dioxide(Inman,2010).These are known to result in lung cancer and respiratory diseases.Interestingly, the areas that suffer most from airplane pollution arethose farther away from the airport (Inman,2010).This is attributed to wind currents that push fumes away from thenearby areas.
Itis estimated that a total of 450 deaths occur annually in the UnitedStates as a result of environmental pollution caused by fumes thatresult from airplanes. This number is estimated to be higher than thenumber of deaths that result from direct crash accidents byairplanes. Sulfur emission from jets is said to be the biggestenvironmental pollutant (Inman,2010).The current regulations ought to focus on how to curb airplaneemissions. This is because the problem is regional as fumes move overlong distances and this affects a huge part of the environment(Inman,2010).Technological advantages and advances are a good way of reducing thefumes released. One of the most promising technologies is the NextGentechnique, which is bound to reduce the distance travelled byairplanes by assisting pilots to use shorter routes. This reducesfumes released and thus, air pollution.
Additionallyairplane accidents cause large emissions that further affect theenvironment. It has been reported that the chemicals found in jetfuel result in reduced soil fertility and a scene of an airplaneaccident is likely to remain infertile for many years (Inman,2010).This also results in socialimpactssuch as destructionof property in case the airplane crashes in populated areas. The 9/11accident is a good example of airplane accident that resulted indislocation of communities. The area became a health hazard due tofumes that were released into the environment that posed a danger tothe surrounding community (Inman,2010).The sipping in of jet fuel into the soil also necessitatesdislocation of population as water in the area as well as foods grownin the area are affected by the emissions as well as the chemicals inthe jet fuel.
Airtransport being a global system that affects the world populationought to focus on the impact of the transport system on a globalscale so as to find suitable solutions. One of the recommendationswould involve putting control measures on the emissions of fumes fromthe combustion of jet fuel. These emissions affect huge populationsas they are carried across the world by wind currents. The focusought to be on how to improve the quality of jet fuels so as toreduce nitrogen and sulphur dioxide emissions. The focus should alsobe on the minimum flying level of airplanes. The lower the flyinglimit, the higher the environmental impact as the fumes are releasedwithin the atmospheric range of human air.
TheFAA’sresponsible ofcoming up with and implementing air transport regulations thatimprove air transportis one of the politicalaspects.This is meant to improve transportation and increase safety. Theseregulations are usually imposed through government regulations asacts of parliament. The committees of science, commerce and transportrecently enacted the s. 1451 bill that is meant to improve the airtransport system by modernizing the air transport control system soas to improve the reliability, safety, and availability of airtransport in America (Shappell& Wiegmann, 2000).The bill has five main purposes being
Reauthorization of the FAA for two years and facilitate access to funds so as to enable the authority to conduct research on engineering, design an air improvement program, acquire facilities and equipment and facilitate it operations.
Provide funds that are geared towards modernization of air transport system, facilitate implementation of Next Generation transport systems, and fast track important NextGen technologies through a safe and effective manner.
Improve programs that will facilitate air transport for small communities and travelling consumers.
Improve airline safety initiatives and FAA’s oversight function of the air transport industry.
Facilitates environmental protection in the National Airspace system.
Theseimprovement objectives are meant to improve the air transport system.This includes expansion of the airport systems and introduction ofmodern air transport control systems. This is because the system hasbeen stretched to its limits due to an increased demand for airtransport system in the United States. Modernizing the air trafficcontrol system will improve operations and ensure that the airtransports system can handle more traffic and improve its efficiency(Shappell& Wiegmann, 2000).This also seeks to improve environmental conservations through animproved system. The NextGen technologies make use of GPS trackingsystem that that improve on surveillance, environmental safety, andair communication systems.
TheNext Gen technologies will also reduce on the overreliance on humanjudgment, which may be impaired due to fatigue or weather problems.The technology shows both the controller and the pilot the plane’senvironment in relation to weather and other planes. This reducesaccidents that are as a result of poor terrain that causes accidentsif the weather impairs the pilot’s vision. In some cases, accidentsare caused by the inability of pilots and controller to see otherplanes in the environment. This causes collisions that are usuallyfatal. This can be curbed by the introduction of NextGen technologiesthat monitor the plane’s environment.
TheNextGen system will allow pilots to reroute to other routes in caseof trouble in the original routes and this improves safety as itfacilitates improved route management. Additionally, the system willallow pilots to use shorter and direct routes. This reduces fuelcombustion and emission of fumes in the environment and thus, reducesenvironmental pollution. The NextGen systems also have better weatherforecasting systems and this improves air transport safety byfacilitating safer weather transport routes.
TheNextGen system will allow pilots to reroute to other routes in caseof trouble in the original routes and this improves safety as itfacilitates improved route management. Additionally, the system willallow pilots to use shorter and direct routes. This reduces fuelcombustion and emission of fumes in the environment and thus, reducesenvironmental pollution. The NextGen systems also have better weatherforecasting systems and this improves air transport safety byfacilitating safer weather transport routes. The technology alsoimproves safety by improving the situational awareness precision ofpilots and controllers. The NextGen technology gives pilots andcontrollers real time maps that show weather and other flightsstatus, ahead. This improves safety as it protects pilots fromrunning into poor weather and reduces potential airplane collisionsthat are usually fatal. This will facilitate safer navigation whilealso improving efficiency.
FAAis also seeking to have a standard training program for pilots andcontrol personnel. Currently, the minimum requirements set by the FAAare not sufficient and most airlines have internal training schedulesfor their personnel. The airlines use the minimum requirements asthey do not want to invest heavily of pilots and control personnel asthey usually use their airlines as stepping stones to biggerairlines. This has led to a workforce that is not well trained.Additionally, the airline personnel are often overworked and thisleads to accidents that are as a result of fatigue (Shappell& Wiegmann, 2000).The FAA is seeking to have an updated training manual for allairlines as well as regulations of the maximum working hours. Thisimproves air safety by reducing fatigue and also improves the skillsthat personnel use for safe operations.
Themultimodaltechnologyis the latest improvement is safety matters that involve use oftechnology. The multimodal system is a system that improves aviationmaintenance. The technology is being developed and implemented incollaboration with the Greenville Technical College’s Aviationtraining facility and Clemson University. The system uses computertechnology to improve aviation maintenance. The system includes useof 3D virtual environments to track large bodied aircrafts. Thetechnology facilitates aircraft maintenance without the destructiveintrusion that interferes with turbines. This reduces chances forengineering errors and facilitates improved safety of aircrafts.
Thesefactors are aimed at reducing the effect of human errors in airtransport. The NextGen technologies cut across the political andenvironmental safety standards. The technology reduces the distancethat pilots have to travel as they do not use the traditional routes.This reduces staff fatigue and ensures that the staff is able to restand avoid fatigue. The technology also allows pilots and controllerscan view ahead and avoid potentially dangerous routes and thisimproves on the safety standards. The ability to use shorter routesalso ensures that the fuel consumption is low and emission of harmfulgases is reduced (Shappell& Wiegmann, 2000).This leads to environmental protection. Finally, the multimodaltechnologyuses a 3D system that is a noninvasive aircraft maintenance systemand this reduces technical problems in the turbines.
TheAmerican air transport system has experienced few accidents fromJanuary 2000 to December 2013. However, the total number of accidentsreported still remains high and the sector need to put in place moremeasures to reduce the number of accidents that occur. Most of theaccidents point towards human error and negligence, attributed tofatigue, which encourages routine (Shappell& Wiegmann, 2000).The routine used fails to look at the potential dangers that mayexist and need correction. This section shall explore therelationship between the employee- to- passenger ratio and the numberof reported accidents.
Theaviation industry uses a combination of quantitative and qualitativeanalysis to study the number of accidents that occur and the likelycauses of the accidents. The data under study uses a linearregression statisticalanalysisto study the relationship between employee- to- passenger ration andthe number of accidents between January 2000 and December 2013. Thedata in the table below indicates the total number of accidentsreported to the National Transportation and Safety Board within thatperiod. The purpose is to study the number of accidents that occurredwithin the stated period and the possible causes as defined by theNational transport and safety board.
Thetable fromthe link belowis the main datacollectionof substantial safety incidents reported in FAA AIDS, whichshows the total number of reported aircraft accidents in the UnitedState between January 2000 and December 2013. Source: FAA Accidentsand Incidents- National transportation safety boardhttp://www.ntsb.gov/investigations/reports_aviation.html
Thisdata indicates that most of the accidents are as a result of humanerror combined with mechanical problems. There are a total of 10accidents that were caused by fatigue. Additionally, most of theaccidents involved small aircrafts that are owned by small airtransport companies. The companies are usually unable to train, hireand retain their own pilots and this forces them to hire pilots fromother airlines on a part time basis (Blumen, 2002). This is whatleads to lack of sufficient training to handle their kind ofaircrafts. The pilots also lack enough experience and this makes themunable to handle any emergency situations.
Thisshows that the employee- to- passenger ration has a directrelationship to the number of accidents. The airlines are unable tohire their own fulltime pilots and hiring part- time pilots leads toa situation where the pilots have no sufficient experience ortraining. The pilots in some instances also work while fatigued andthis leads to accidents due to lack of procedure or omission. Thisindicates that the pilots are not sufficiently trained or areignorant. The number of accidents could be greatly reduced if thepilots have sufficient training that enables them to handle theaircrafts.
Theaccidents are also caused by the decision of airline management toreduce costs by reducing the cost of training by using the availablenumber of employees in the market. The management does not endeavorto employ more crew members as this leads to training costs, whichcost the airlines a lot. Moreover, in the competitive airlineindustry always has other opportunities for trained personnel and themanagement rationalizes that the employees leave whenever they getother opportunities. The management of small airlines, therefore,choose to use the existing employees from bigger airlines on a parttime basis, leading to fatigue. This is a major cause of accidents.
Humanerrorsare a major cause of air transport accidents in the United States.This is as a result of poor decisions or uninformed decisions thatlead to accidents. The data collected indicates that pilots oftenmake decisions that result in poor airmanship and results inaccidents. Additionally, the controllers also make decisions thatlead to poor aircraft control, leading to accidents. For example,error in judgment of weather conditions leads the pilots to fly intopoor weather conditions that decrease visibility. In some instances,the pilots were unable to activate defreezing of fuels and this ledto accidents as a result of fuel compression. Unsafe acts are,however, the major cause of the accidents and this indicates that theerrors are some of the major contributors of air transport accidents.
Anothermajor human error is the decision by management to keep the number ofemployees constant despite the increasing number of passengers. Themanagement of most airlines keeps the cost of operation low bykeeping the number of employees low. The airlines prefer to use theexisting number of employees over the expanded industry. Thisdecision leads to fatigue as the employees are over worked. Inaddition to this, the airlines do not train their employees to meetthe requirements of the aircrafts being used. This leads to poorairmanship, a major cause of airplane accidents. This is a managementerror that predisposes people to accidents that are otherwisepreventable.
Humanbehaviorhas also been a major contributor of the high number of accidents.Notably, is ignorant behavior that leads to errors. For example,there are reports of pilots who got distracted while on duty leadingto accidents that were otherwise avoidable. In some cases, theconduct of the crew in the cockpit has led to accidents as a resultof neglect. There are also cases of pilots not communicating withcontrollers and this lack of communication leads to accidents as aresult of lack of positioning (IATA,2007).There are also reports of controllers who engage with their phoneswhile on duty. This prevents them from conducting their duties as itdistracts their attention. This is an error that is attributable tolack of discipline and thus, ought to be addressed throughdisciplinary measures.
Anotherhuman factor is humanlimitation.Human limitation includes poor vision, lack of sufficient trainingand lack of experience. Poor vision is as a result of bad weatherconditions, which limit visibility. This results into collisions as aresult of unexpected encounters. For example, poor vision as a resultof poor weather has often resulted in planes running into trees orpoor terrain. It is important for airlines to manage their aircraftsin favorable weather instead of risking lives for profits. Trainingof pilots on how to handle the aircrafts has also resulted in anumber of accidents. There is also the lack of experience that hasbeen a major contributor to accidents.
Thelimitation of lack of experience is linked to the desire for airlinesto reduce costs. Some airlines train the pilots on basic skills so asto reduce on costs of training. The airlines then employ theemployees without the necessary skills. The airlines also employemployees from other airlines on a part time basis. These areemployees who usually have no experience operating their kind ofairplanes. This leads to accidents caused by the lack of properskills and experience to operate the airplanes. These are avoidableaccidents that can be eliminated through proper training andemployment of employees with the right skills.
Thereis also the limitation of technological overload of control systems.The existing control systems are over stretched due to the increaseddemand for air transport. The increase in demand means that there aremore planes being served by the existing technologies and theexisting number of employees. This leads to crowding as the planesbeing served are too many for the technology. This leads toexhaustion of employees as they try to manage the number of airplanesusing limited technology. The employees are also overworked as thefew available employees serve a very huge number of employees. Thisis caused by the FAA’s lack of expansion of the employeepopulation. The FAA prefers to employ former pilots to work incontrol instead of training and hiring new employees. This causes alow number of employees leading to fatigue.
Thehuman limitations are compounded by the airlines’attitudeofprofit maximizationwhile employing the least number of employees. This is usually doneby employing pilots on a part time basis, which is as a result of thedesire by pilots to make the most profits. The airlines serve an everincreasing number of clients, but they have not employed more crewmembers to correspond with this increase in demand (IATA,2007).This leads to over stretching of the available crew members, a majorcause of fatigue. Some airlines compensate on the lack of enoughpersonnel by employing pilots on a part time basis. This isadvantageous as the pilots are not expensive to maintain and theairlines also do not have to invest in the training of the pilots.This, however, leads the airlines to employ inexperience andinsufficiently trained pilots who cannot handle the aircraftscompetently.
Theairline industry operates in an unpredictable environment. This iswhat has led to the inability by airlines to keep employing newemployees. Additionally, the cost of training pilots is too high andthis makes it hard for airlines to train their own pilots. Most ofthe airlines, therefore, train a small number of pilots and outsourcemore in case of increased demand. This means that the airlines canreduce their operating costs when demand is low by hiring less parttime pilots and increase the number of pilots when demand is higher.Moreover, pilots are also seeking to increase their incomes by havingseveral jobs at the same time. This leads to fatigue as they try tobalance their jobs and demand. The situation indicates that there arefew qualified and experienced pilots to serve the huge demand in theair transport industry.
Hypothesis:there is a statistical significance between a high workload and thenumber of substantial incidents.
Thissection will conduct a quantitative studymethodologyof the situation in the airline industry and the potential way ofimproving the situation. The study uses the independent variablebeing the number of employees and the dependent variable being thenumber of accidents. The current number of employees stands at a lownumber that is not able to cater for the passengers adequately. Thefocus in the industry according to analysts is the need by airlinesto make more profits by serving the highest number of passengers.This means that the airlines focus on capacity and not quality ofservice offered. The quality is compromised as the employees areoverworked, leading to poor service.
Theresearch interviewed a total of ten pilots from ten differentairlines and a total of five controllers. The employees holddifferent ranks in the industry and they have different traininglevels. The focus was on the number of hours worked as compared tothe recommended number of hours to be worked. The interview alsofocused on the number o f jobs a pilot held and the right kind ofskills that are necessary to serve the different jobs. This was so asto establish how many jobs that employees held and whether they hadthe right skills to handle the jobs.
Theresearch found that most captains and pilots held more than one job.Most captains and pilots have permanent jobs, usually in largeairlines. They, however, have part time jobs in other airlines thatare not able to employ the pilots based on the desire for the skills.This forces pilots to work more than the recommended amount of hours.The pilots usually work on call and this means that sometimes, theydo not have enough time to rest, leading to fatigue. This is a majorcause of accidents. The employees also lack skills that areapplicable across different types of planes and this inadequacy ofskills leads to accidents in case the pilots experience extraordinarycircumstances.
Thecurrent situation in the air transport industry only focuses on theaspect of human error as the cause of the high number of accidents.The focus ought to look further into the reasons for the humanerrors, including lack of sufficient training and fatigue due toinsufficient number of employees. This is driven by the management’sneed for increased profits by serving a large customer base using fewemployees. The management does not also invest heavily in skilldevelopment, which means that the insufficiently trained employeesare used to handle the large number of passengers. Additionally, thefew well- trained employees end up serving a large number ofemployees as their skill are on demand.
Theindustry has also greatly improved the training of employees,explaining why there are few employees and more demand. The trainingcosts are very high and airlines prefer to train few employees wellenough for them to handle the large number of clients. This meansthat the few employees with sufficient skills are stretched over agrowing industry and this leads to overstretching of the availableskills (Blumen, 2002). The improved training caters for a wide rangeof skills such that the pilots are well trained over a wide field.This means that they can handle many different types of demand at thesame time. The improved skills, demand for more profits for both crewmembers and management means that those with the skills serve verymany passengers at the same time, leading to exhaustion.
Theairline industry does not have a standard training program for theemployees in the industry. The airlines train their employeesaccording to their needs. This creates gaps in skills especially whenthey move from one airline to another. Apossible solution isFAA standardizingthe training standards for all employees of the airline industry soas to facilitate compatibility. This will ensure that once employeesmove from one airline to another, the skills will be compatible. Thiswill reduce accidents that are as a result of gaps in skills.
Theaircraft technology has also been synchronized and this means thatthose with skills have the ability to handle different aircrafts atthe same time. This is unlike before, when the technology variedgreatly and there was higher specialization than modern times. Thishas led to pilots with the necessary skills handling differentaircrafts despite the lack of experience and finer skills (Wiegmann,2003).The need for increased profits means that managers utilize theseskilled people over a wide range of aircrafts despite lackingexperience. This is what leads to accidents that are as a result ofhuman error.
Thiscalls for an improvement in research and development. One of the waysof reducing the high number of accidents due to few employees is theuse of technology to aid employees. This means that the industry canmaintain a low number of employees while increasing the capacity ofpassengers served so as to reduce the number of accidents due tohuman error (IATA,2007).Technology can be used to overcome the problem of overworkingemployees as most of the work will be done using automated systems.This also reduces accidents that are as a result of negligence as theemployees will have very little chance of conducting any work.
This,however, will not conclusively solve the problem as the employeeswill still be few, stretched over a huge passenger number. Theairline industry needs to come up with regulations as to the totalnumber of permanent employees that each airline must have, based onthe total number of passengers it handles. This will ensure thatairlines do not over rely of part time employees, who are overstretched (Wiegmann,2003).This also means that the airlines will have to train their employeessufficiently so that they can competently handle their aircrafts.This specialization in skills improves competency and reducesaccidents due to insufficient training.
Thehigh number of air transport accidents indicates that there is indeeda relationship between the employee- to- passenger ratio and thenumber of accidents. This means that the industry is understaffed tohandle the high number of passengers and the expected furtherincrease in demand. The first recommendation lies in increasing thenumber of trained personnel to serve the increasing number ofpassengers (Wiegmann,2003).This will drastically reduce the need for overworking the few skilledemployees available. The high demand for air transport and lack of acorresponding increase in the number of employees means that theavailable employees work more than the recommended hours and miles,leading to fatigue.
TheFAA ought to enact into law a requirement for airlines to have acertain minimum number of trained employees that is directly relatedto the number of passengers that the airline handles. According tothe data presented, accidents are more prevalent in small aircrafts.This is because the airlines do not train and hire their ownemployees. The airlines depend on part time employees from otherairlines who serve them when the need arises. This means that theemployees may not get enough time to rest and this leads to fatigueand accidents that are as a result of human errors. The airlinesought to, therefore, be compelled to have their own employees whohandle their passengers without being overworked. This constantnumber of employee will ensure that the airlines have a constantnumber of employees to handle their aircraft.
Thetraining of employees ought to also equip employees with specializedskills as this reduces accidents that are as a result of human errorand inexperience. Specialization means that the employees have highcompetency to handle the aircrafts under any conditions, leading toreduced accidents (Wiegmann,2003).This is also backed up by technological improvement that reduces thechances of avoidable accidents that are as a result of human error.Improved technology is essential as it reduces the need for overreliance of human skills that can fail or can be compromised byerrors. Technology also aids human skills leading to improvedefficiency. The FAA ought to institute changes, which focus on thestandards of training for airline employees to ensure that there issufficient skilled manpower available.
Theimplementation of NextGen technology ought to be fast tracked as itis a promising technology that can greatly reduce accidents by humanerror. The technology improves efficiency and this will lead to feweraccidents that are as a result of technological limitations. Thetechnology is also bound to reduce the extreme reliance on humanskills, which means that the numerous accidents that are as a resultof poor judgment can be reduced and avoided. The NextGen technologyis also bound to go a long way in reducing the miles travelled byemployees and this will be of a big advantage to airlines as thenumber of employees can remain low without compromising on theworkload.
TheNextGen technologies will also increase the capacity of the controlsystems to handle more traffic. The systems are expandable and thismeans that in case of more growth in the future, the industry willstill have the capacity to handle more traffic. The technologies willalso allow the airlines to handle more traffic. This will increaseairline traffic and thus, improve profits. The ability to handle moretraffic combined with the ability to use shorter routes thancurrently will improve the profitability of the industry and thus,create expansion and the ability to employ more employees. Thisreduces the number of accidents as the management will make moreprofits in a safer environment. The technology also facilitates asynchronized technological system that allows pilots to handle moreaircrafts safely.
Inconclusion, the high numbers of air transport accidents areattributable to the low number of employees who handle a high numberof passengers in the industry. The industry is highly understaffedwith few employees handling a high number of clients, which leads tooverworking and human errors. The best employee- to- passenger ratiostands at 1: 1999 and this is still not sufficient. This has been oneof the major causes of accidents in recent years that are as a resultof human error due to fatigue. This shows that there is a need toincrease the number of employees to serve the increasing demand. Theproblem is as a result of the practice of holding the number ofemployees constant while the number of customers has grown over theyears.
Theproblem can, however, be resolved by using technology. Theintroduction of the NextGen technology can be used to reduce themiles travelled by pilots as the pilots can use the technology to useshorter routes than the traditional ones. This reduces the milestravelled and thus, the pilots have sufficient time to rest, leadingto less exhaustion. The technology will also reduce environmentalpollution as the miles travelled by the aircrafts reduces greatly,leading to less emission of harmful gases in the atmosphere. Thetechnology thus, allows reduced environmental pollution as well asreducing the number of miles travelled by employees. This reducesenvironmental pollution and reduces fatigue in employees.
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