The changing Role of Pilots in Modern and Future Airline Operations and the benefit of a University degree

The changing Role of Pilots in Modern and Future Airline Operations and the benefit of a University degree

The aviation industry haswitnessed significant advancements in technology and operational practices,leading to a notable transformation in the role of pilots.The evolvingresponsibilities of pilots in modern and future airline operations is focusingon the integration of soft skills  withpilot skills and the management of complex systems.

This is a fact, and inAirways Aviation we advocate the relevance of a dedicated University degree inshaping the future pilot workforce.

Traditionally, pilots were primarily valued for their technical proficiency andflying skills. However, as aviation has become more complex, the importance ofsoft skills has gained prominence. Modern pilots are expected to possessexcellent communication, leadership, and teamwork abilities. These skillsenable them to effectively interact with passengers, cabin crew, air trafficcontrollers, technicians and fellow crew members, fostering a safe andharmonious flight environment. Furthermore, pilots with strong decision-making,problem-solving, and situational awareness skills can handle unexpectedscenarios and mitigate risks effectively.

The International CivilAviation Organisation (ICAO) and all worldwide Authorities are now moving to anew set of “Competencies” to evaluate a pilot, namely:

  • Communication
  • Workload Management
  • Situational Awareness
  • Knowledge
  • Application of Procedures
  • Flight Path Management Automation
  • Flight Path Management Manual
  • Problem Solving and Decision Making

The global call is that is “TIME FOR A CHANGE”.

Advancements in aircrafttechnology have led to the introduction of highly automated and computerizedsystems, shifting the role of pilots towards system management and supervision.Pilots are now required to have a comprehensive understanding of the aircraft'sintegrated avionics, flight management systems, autopilot capabilities, andother automation tools, usually moving at 900 km per hour at 10,000 meters ofaltitude. They must possess the ability to monitor and interpret system data,respond to alerts and warnings, and intervene when necessary to maintain thesafety and efficiency of the flight, with attention to the economy of theflight and recently also to the environmental impact.

The aviation industry has recognized the importance of higher education inshaping well-rounded and knowledgeable pilots. While a university degree is nota mandatory requirement in most of the countries for becoming a pilot, itprovides several advantages. A degree in aviation management or related fieldsequips aspiring pilots with the tools they need to handle and master criticalthinking, analytical skills, and a broader understanding of the aviationindustry, which are the most needed assets for pilots dealing with present andfuture operational challenges.

The role of pilots will continue to evolve in the future, driven by ongoingtechnological advancements and changing industry dynamics. The integration ofartificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning in aviation systems mayenhance automation further, reducing the manual tasks performed by pilots.However, the human factor remains crucial for decision-making, problem-solving,and handling unforeseen circumstances, emphasizing the importance of softskills and critical thinking abilities. Airways Aviation strongly believe in thisnecessary transition and has pioneered training programs that focus ondeveloping these skills alongside technical competencies to prepare the pilots ofthe future.


In Australia we startedmany years ago and we are now working together with different Universities likeSouthern Cross University, Griffith University, CQ University etc.

In Europe we have theprivilege to work together with Montpellier Business School and its AviationResearch Centre “Chaire Pegase” providing a unique University pathway toprofessional pilots.

The changing role of pilots in modern and future airline operations reflects ashift towards a more holistic and well-rounded skill set. While technicalproficiency and flying skills remain essential, the integration of soft skills,such as communication, leadership, and teamwork, has become increasinglyimportant. The modern Captain is a great manager of systems.


Additionally, a Universitydegree, is not just providing management tools, better theoretical foundation anda broader understanding of the aviation industry, but it also granting to the studentpilot a solid title for a future career within the airline organisation and inthe management world.


The industry's outlook clearly indicates the evolutionof pilot roles, where soft skills, management skills, critical thinking, andadaptability will play an integral part in maintaining safe and efficientoperations, and Airways Aviation Academy is here to guide future pilots in the evolutionof their profession.


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