Cabin crew health and fitness-to-fly: opportunities for re-evaluation amid COVID-19

Grout, Andrea, and Leggat, Peter (2021) Cabin crew health and fitness-to-fly: opportunities for re-evaluation amid COVID-19. Travel Medicine and Infectious Disease, 40. 101973.

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Abstract

Aircrew fitness-to-fly is among the elements that make aviation the safest form of long-distance transport. The health of cabin crew is a crucial determinant in carrying out safety-related duties. ‘Fitness-to-fly’ is associated with defined workplace conditions, for which airlines have a legal duty to ensure fitness for employment. We explored the literature on fitness-to-fly to obtain a pragmatic assessment of the challenges for aeromedical examinations. Regulations promulgated by aviation regulatory authorities and airline-internal policies have similar status and meaning, yet there is no harmonised approach internationally, and an inability to conform periodic medical assessments to actual operational fitness. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need to better understand fitness-to-fly criteria. Fitness-to-fly measures are mainly based on self-reported data and there is a need for a ‘safety’ factor for self-reports. Aeromedical evaluations should evolve from meeting medical standards to include pandemics as an element of the overall risk of aircraft operations. Re-evaluating criteria for fitness-to-fly assessment will further the goal of linking research to the actual needs of public health decisionmakers. If airlines are to resume operations at pre-pandemic levels, they must demonstrate to the public and public health agencies that fitness-to-fly assessment is appropriate and effective.

Item ID: 65908
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1477-8939
Keywords: Cabin crew, Fitness-to-fly, Health, Safety, Aviation, Occupational risks, COVID-19
Copyright Information: © 2021 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Date Deposited: 20 Jul 2021 22:57
FoR Codes: 35 COMMERCE, MANAGEMENT, TOURISM AND SERVICES > 3505 Human resources and industrial relations > 350505 Occupational and workplace health and safety @ 50%
42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4206 Public health > 420699 Public health not elsewhere classified @ 25%
35 COMMERCE, MANAGEMENT, TOURISM AND SERVICES > 3508 Tourism > 350899 Tourism not elsewhere classified @ 25%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9205 Specific Population Health (excl. Indigenous Health) > 920504 Occupational Health @ 50%
92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920499 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) not elsewhere classified @ 25%
90 COMMERCIAL SERVICES AND TOURISM > 9003 Tourism > 900399 Tourism not elsewhere classified @ 25%
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