Cathay Pacific working with Airbus to Allow Single Pilot Operation for Long Haul Cruise
Cathay Pacific is working together with Airbus to allow for reduced pilot operation during high altitude cruises for long haul flight operations.
If testing and certification go as planned, these flights can be operated as early as by 2025 on the Airbus A350.
“While we are engaging with Airbus in the development of the concept of reduced crew operations, we have not committed in any way to being the launch customer…The appropriateness and effectiveness of any such rollout as well as the overall cost-benefit analysis will ultimately depend on how the pandemic plays out.” - Cathay Pacific
Long haul flights require three to even four pilots at times depending on the length of the flight. During these flights, pilots take alternating rest periods during the cruise period.
Reduced crew requirements would cut costs significantly due to the fewer number of pilots required however it also means fewer jobs.
There are additional questions concerning the operational safety and alertness of the sole pilot on duty that requires real-time monitoring and tests to be answered.
Pilots can be met with an emergency any time during the flight which may require the assistance of the second pilot immediately.
Certification of these flights would require the approval from the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).