Flying during the pandemic: The pilots’ perspective

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The ongoing COVID19 pandemic has dramatic consequences for the global airline industry, putting the entire industry and its workforce in what turned out to be the biggest crisis of the industry since World War II. 

For more than a year the daily life of thousands of pilots has changed dramatically. Frequent changes to entry and quarantine requirements for crews on duty create not only challenges for the airlines when it comes to planning flights in oder to guarantee global connectivity and supply of goods by air cargo, they have a direct impact on those crews who are still flying, creating what is now referred to often as the “new normal”.

While playing a vital part in providing connectivity and supply of goods by air, crew members have to endure in-room confinements on layovers or are faced with quarantine and border crossing restrictions when commuting home after their flights.

While some countries did not enact special restrictions for crew members on duty others have very strict rules. These often strictly enforced rules may include hotel lockdowns, not allowing crew members to leave the confinement of the hotel premisses. Some countries imposed even stricter rules including mandatory in-room confinements within the hotel room; not allowing pilots to leave the confinement of their rooms for nutrition, physical exercise or access to fresh air for several days. Upon return home from a trip, crew members are then faced with quarantine requirements at their place of residence.

An additional burden are ever changing travel restrictions for those pilots and other crew members who have to commute before and after flights to and from their countries of residence. Luxembourg like no other country in the EU, relies heavily on cross border workers. This fact is also true for pilots employed by Luxembourg’s airlines; many of them are commuting between Luxembourg and their country of residence within the EU, sometimes crossing several borders with different restrictions and at times unclear exemptions for commuting workers.

Find out more about this “new normal” during #COVID19 on CNN’s Quest Means Business, featuring among others ALPL President Capt. Darrell Myers.