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Is It About Time to Reinforce Ethics in Airline Industry?

Is It About Time to Reinforce Ethics in Airline Industry?

Welcome to the 13th edition of Airline Profits, we hope you are not superstitious and that you will read through this issue of the magazine. If you are one of our regular readers, you probably know that the core message of Airline Profits is the need to rethink the airline business from the ground up along with its supporting technology. In this article, however, we are going to discuss some serious matters pertaining to airline human resources. As we all know, aviation is mainly about people and even more so commercial air transport.

The main focus of this article is to highlight a series of recent and past events, which have raised serious doubts about the brand of ethics and behaviors we all should want the aviation community to represent.
In the past, it was essentially outsiders who used to target aviation and commit unlawful acts such as the hijacking of commercial airplanes. The extreme case in that regard was the tragedy of September 11, 2001, in the USA.

In recent years, it is rather insiders who have abused their privileges to engage in reproving or unlawful acts. The most tragic case is the Germanwings pilot who crashed a plane in the Alps, killing hundreds of passengers and himself.

Beyond these tragic cases, which caused much consternation inside and outside the aviation community, there are more and more instances of rather concerning behaviors, which need to be dealt with more drastically than not.

  • The first instance is about crew members showing up drunk before their flight;
  • The second instance is about crew members smuggling narcotics or precious metals on their flights;
  • The third instance is about crew members embarking extra passengers on a fully packed flight and having them to stand up throughout;
  • The fourth instance is about crew members discriminating against passengers due to prejudice about race or religion;
  • The fifth instance is about baggage handlers knowingly mishandling passenger luggage;
  • The sixth instance is about reservation agents hanging up on prospective passengers.

There may be more examples, in fact, many more than have been mentioned in this article. In any case, it is about time to reinforce ethics guidelines already in place within the airline industry. Furthermore, it may be important that governing and legal bodies such as ICAO, IATA consider further standards for non-negotiable ethics and behaviors, which can be strictly enforced. There are far too many good people in the aviation industry, professionals who are truly there to serve. Therefore, it is important not to let some isolated and rotten cases corrupt and harm the whole aviation community.

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Kofi Sonokpon

Kofi Sonokpon

Managing Editor of Airline Profits, the first aviation magazine devoted to improving airline effectiveness and profitability, Kofi Sonokpon has more than 20 years of international experience in aviation. Kofi holds an IATA sponsored Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Air Transport Management from the John Molson School of Business at Concordia University in Montreal. Kofi Sonokpon is a speaker, an airline business thought-leader, and author an innovative book series intended for the 21st century airline, namely Airlines for Business and Airlines for Technology.