The Middle East Tribune

Centered on Civil Liberties & Political Issues, Human Development & Socioeconomic Matters

Why Airlines Should Reorient Aircrew Interactions


Many commercial airlines consider having smooth work interactions between their aircrew members as one of the most important elements in promoting flight safety and increasing productivity.

To accomplish that end, they initiate joint courses, lectures, seminars; and provide special privileges and first-rate advantages to create a harmonious sense of team spirit, and raise the efficiency of their flight and cabin crews.

To encourage friendly communication between their crew-members, most airlines organize shared social activities and gatherings, like mountain trips, beach parties, special dinners, etc. so that to elevate self-esteem and create dedication among their aircrews.

Discernibly, the main objective from all that is to enhance safety awareness and establish cooperative teamwork.

However, in most developing countries, the professional relationship between airline crew-members, mainly between flight and cabin crews, is unhealthy. Typically, it is a consequence of unequal treatment and biased procedures of conjoint rights of aircrew. Unfortunately, suchlike unskillful arrangements and practices are widespread among many airlines of the third world, as divisions among aircrews can be exploited to the airlines’ advantage in pay and entitlements negotiations, for example.

Given this biased treatment, some flight crewmembers consider themselves superior to cabin crewmembers, engineers, and other employees. Thereon, they behave arrogantly with their teammates overlooking that they share the same workplace—and, maybe, the same fate. Although only a few incidents come into sight, yet many other instances happen but either overlooked or remain unresolved.

Naturally, direct interactions and interchange of views are vital to have broad-minded and constructive relationships in commercial businesses—let alone in the airline business. Similar cooperative atmosphere, however, usually exists in organizations that permit a two-way flow of information and promote the exchange of opinions between employees irrespective of their job position, and between the management and employees, and vice versa.

Nevertheless, many Middle Eastern airlines still adopt one channel of communication (from-up-to-down) policy in which aircrew relations are regulated to serve higher-ranking crew members. While, advanced airlines have a conflict resolution system by which aircrews can settle their differences, or submit disputes to an impartial arbitration committee. In doing so, the management ensures that no further complications or similar incidents would occur in the future, especially during flights.

It is very important for airlines to enforce a grievance system and remain impartial in disputes between employees, to lessen the potential of morale-sapping disputes between employees. Management should try to inspire employees, win their loyalty, and spread high-quality organizational culture so that to improve standards, efficiency and performance of employees.

Obviously, experienced aircrews believe they have a commitment and moral obligation to honor fellowship and support each other to build trust and effective cooperation to the benefit of all.

Some airline professionals consider this line of business as a science, while others regard it as an art. For commercial aviation experts, it is a combination of art and science. The best illustration of that unique mixture is to have collaborative and harmonious airline crew members.

For the most part, all should take note that the airline business is not like any other. It cannot be run like a regular transport service company or like a hotel or restaurant.


5 comments on “Why Airlines Should Reorient Aircrew Interactions

  1. Jennifer
    November 4, 2015

    Hi Mohammad,

    Great article, you have the mine-field covered as usual! Top down bottom up… (sounds like I’m talking about limestone caves) …communication clearly is important for success in any industry but in air services it should be non-negotiable as you say.

    In thinking about this, the flying situation is multi-layered. Power distribution is an important ingredient in structure. Equality is the liquid that binds the product so that the end outcome is a safe flight.

    I can see the hurdles in the way of air safety, not only in developing countries, but also in developed countries.

    The full range and distribution of air staff in every country, from pilots to passenger check in points, is fraught and filled with the Pandora’s box of attitudinal disparities. It is a global Pandora’s black box.

    I think it is important to define the individual roles of staff and responsibilities. Then the training should roll it all up with crusty equality. Finally, training should zip it all together, with safety from a global citizen perspective, top down and bottom up.

    Thanks Mohammad


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Anonymous
    June 22, 2012

    Trust and respect between crew members is of vital importance. Imagine what might happen if everyone worked only for their own sake… Sabotage is not an option in the sky. Everybody has to work towards the same objective: have a smooth flight. That´s why airlines do (and should) spend a lot of money in psychologically test and train their personnel.


    • M. Moussalli
      June 22, 2012

      That’s the point. They should create a social corporate culture of equality and understanding to promote safety and teamwork


  3. GGM
    March 16, 2012

    A very good article. thanks


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Mohammad S. Moussalli

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© 2018 Mohammad S. Moussalli; ----------------------- Sharing, reblogging, excerpts and republication of this material, or part thereof, are permissible PROVIDED that it's clearly attributed to the author with reference to the original publication.
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