A company is only as effective as the colleagues that work for it. So why are so many airlines failing to support their staff through times of need? Ok, this may be a sweeping statement, however, having talked to a number of airlines and crew members over the past few months, there is a worrying trend that a sizable number of carriers are neglecting basic services for their colleagues.
This month’s cover story, Aviation’s Taboo (p28), focuses on issues surrounding mental health, with March marking the anniversary of the Germanwings Flight 9525 crash. It still shocks me, despite all the global awareness campaigns and debate that was sparked following the event 12 months ago, how this psychiatric illness still holds such a negative stigma, especially within the workplace. Very few Middle East airlines, or associations based in the region, were willing to talk on the topic when contacted, highlighting how a taboo remains.
While I can appreciate that specific details into staff medical records are of a confidential nature, the topic should be far from “sensitive”. As an industry, the aviation sector needs to step up and lead as innovators in all aspects, not just for its customers.
Many airlines claim to have resources available, and host ‘sports days’ to encourage engagement, but with shifts being stretched, benefits being restricted and additional pressure being put on crew and back of house staff, are the support networks adequate enough to provide the neccesary backing for a happy and content workforce that feels it can rely on its employer in times of need.
It will be interesting to gain further thoughts on this matter, and see just how well supported the Middle East aviation workforce feels, and whether increasing pressures are creating a greater need for airlines to do more to support its staff.