Air India has this week started a peer support programme (PSP) under which guidance from mental health professionals will be provided to any pilot in need, its chief executive officer and managing director Campbell Wilson stated on Friday.
In February, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had asked all airlines to set up PSPs to assist the mental well-being of their pilots, cabin crew members and air traffic controllers.
“Our PSP for pilots kicked off this week, offering the support of professionals and mental health specialists to anyone needing assistance under the protection of complete confidentiality,” Wilson told employees in a message, which has been reviewed by Business Standard.”
“In parallel, we also launched Buddy.AI, giving pilots the opportunity to connect with trained volunteers sharing similar professional backgrounds and an understanding of the challenges they face,” he added.
Air India has also joined the European Association for Aviation Psychology (EAAP) to ensure that it is fully up to speed with the latest science and thinking, Wilson noted. “And whether you’re a pilot or not, maintaining mental health is important for everyone, so don’t be shy to take advantage of the avenues to seek support (such as here) if needed,” he mentioned.
The DGCA had in February stated that “this proactive and non-punitive programme” will assist and support flight crew and air traffic controllers in recognising, coping with and overcoming any problem, which might negatively affect their ability to safely do their work.
IndiGo pilot Manoj Subramanyam, 40, died of sudden cardiac arrest at the Nagpur airport around noon of August 17, just before boarding a flight that he was scheduled to fly to Pune. The death brought back the focus on Indian carriers’ internal procedures to handle fatigue and stress among pilots and the flight duty time limitation (FDTL) norms, which were put in place by the DGCA in April 2019.
First Published: Oct 20 2023 | 5:44 PM IST