Reflections on AAETS 2018 – Footprints and Shadows

AAETS 2018 was not only a welcome opportunity to network with existing and potential clients but to also gain valuable knowledge of the current South Korean civil aviation sector with our focus on Airline Training and Recruitment. Of particular significance was the Symbiotics Ltd symposium presentation regarding the issue of assessing mental wellbeing within the pilot community. More on that later.


Some of the key themes we heard during keynote addresses, presentations and panel discussions included:

  • How the South Korean government departments and Civil Aviation Authority are delivering their strategy to recruit, train and deploy pilots in sufficient numbers to meet increased demand for air travel in the coming years
  • How to deliver successful training programmes for pilots, cabin crew and maintenance operatives
  • New methods and technology in training delivery
  • Future training programmes to tackle the rise in aircrew required in line with increased consumer demand for air travel whether short, medium or long haul
  • The issue regarding the quality of newly CPL qualified pilots and their suitability to be employed by commercial airlines – with some reports of 30%-40% of prospective pilots failing assessment days

Again, an aviation education and training event focused on training delivery programmes and technological advances but little discussion around volume-based and consistent aircrew recruitment pre-screening and assessment. Perhaps, if more time and resource was given to this key element of the training process, perhaps we would see a drop in the numbers of applicants failing airline assessment days.


Symbiotics Ltd was proud and honoured to be awarded a speaker role at AAETS 2018. The issue of mental wellbeing among aircrew is gaining traction within the aviation sector. In response to this our Principal Occupational Psychologist, Karen Moore delivered the presentation “Monitoring Mental Health”.


A few key points to take from Karen’s presentation:

  • 5 to 1.7 people at work have symptoms of an existing mental health condition
  • In 2011 there were 618,000 certificated pilots – by 2035 it’s predicted this will rise to an additional 617,000 pilots
  • Given the accepted incidence figures, this suggests that approximately 114,000 pilots could be experiencing a mental health condition at this moment.

Currently, EASA guidelines focus on psychological assessments at the point of entry for pilots and there are well-established assessments to predict the personality traits and behaviours required to fill different roles i.e. assessing a person’s psychological “footprint”.


Assessing mental wellbeing on a regular basis can identify at an early stage where an intervention is required and advice and guidance provided.


Will the industry become more pro-active in managing this issue or do we wait for another compelling event, such as the Germanwings incident, to force the issue?


Symbiotics offer a suite of selection tools, but are also working with MHS Assessments in our use of MindQ, a clinically validated mental wellbeing risk assessment. We firmly believe that by investing in the mental wellbeing of your team has a substantial impact in reducing absenteeism or presenteeism and increasing productivity, as well as allowing those at risk of potential mental health conditions to be directed to the appropriate resources and support.


If you want to find out more about how we can help you look after the mental wellbeing of your team then please get in touch via or 01905 368 175.



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