24Hr emergency line +44 (0)20 8476 4099
Join Balpa

Protecting Pilot Mental Health

In the wake of the 2015 Germanwings tragedy there has been huge media interest in the topic of pilot mental health. It’s a topic BALPA takes seriously and is working to address.

BALPA understands the need to ensure those suffering mental health issues, who are in safety critical jobs, must be identified, given support and monitored to ensure they do not pose a safety risk. This need has been emphasised throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

Mental health problems are often treatable and should not be seen as a bar on becoming or remaining a pilot.

Pilots believe the biggest problem is the stigma attached to mental health problems. The aviation industry needs to bring these issues out in to the open so those who are suffering are not driven underground. We believe that with the correct monitoring, support and treatment people who have suffered mental health issues like stress and depression can often return to work.

1 in 4
people in the UK suffers mental health issues at some point in their lives.

BALPA’s Position

Evidence shows that support is the best way to identify and treat those with mental health issues. BALPA will continue its work to support the implementation of peer support programmes that break down stigma and prevent mental health issues being pushed underground.

Such programmes already exist in many companies across Europe and are now required as part of UK and European legislation. They have proven to be very successful to identify pilots in need of professional help, to treat them and, where possible, to guide them back to the flight deck.

BALPA feels these programmes could be extended to cover a greater range of mental health issues, to be able to provide help to those who go through difficult times.

Pilots undergo regular health checks, which include a mental health element and there is scope to improve how this is covered.

However, there is concern that greater reliance on evaluation of all pilots at the start of their careers may not be effective in identifying those who pose the most serious risks and may fail to help those who face problems later in their careers.

More Campaigns.

Reduced Crew Operations: #SafetyStartsWith2

Safety Starts With 2 BALPA pilots believe the safety of every airline flight always starts with at least two well trained, qualified and rested pilots on the flight deck. Removing pilots from the flight deck is a gamble with safety. That is why BALPA is joining pilots from around the globe to engage in a […]

Read more

Fighting the Strikes Bill

Government is trying to curb the right to strike for transport workers. Under new proposals, the Secretary of State for Transport would gain sweeping powers to set minimum service levels during strikes, removing or curtailing their effect.

This is unacceptable to BALPA and the entire trade union movement.

Read more

Supporting Pilot Licensing

The new and unfair post-Brexit licencing system means UK pilot licences have been seriously degraded in value and utility. The new state of play has actively prevented UK pilots, including those made redundant due to Covid-19, from securing UK jobs.

BALPA continues to campaign for a reciprocal Flight Crew and Engineer Licence agreement between the UK and EU, which would benefit all UK airlines. This would address the imbalance following Brexit and the Government must address it urgently.

Read more

Environment and Sustainability

BALPA wants to see a thriving future for the aviation sector in the UK, one that provides jobs for our members and mobility for our population. Yet we are in the midst of a climate crisis and have a moral and legal obligation to ensure our future is a sustainable one.

Read more

Fighting Pilot Fatigue

Fatigue has for many years been a worrying issue for pilots and it continues to be a huge concern across the industry today. Pilots have told BALPA they believe fatigue is now the biggest single threat to flight safety.

Read more

Maternity Pay for Female Pilots

For women, the viability and attractiveness of a career as a pilot is significantly affected by the ability to balance working as a pilot with maternity and childcare commitments. At its most fundamental level lies the issue of maternity pay. The financial support available to a woman following the birth of her child has a […]

Read more

Pilot Pensions

Pilots feel the current pension system – including the existing tax relief framework – works. They want stability and fear any changes could undermine the system and put people off saving for their future.

Read more