Health in the Skies: A Narrative Review of the Issues Faced by Commercial Airline Pilots

Cureus. 2023 Apr 22;15(4):e38000. doi: 10.7759/cureus.38000. eCollection 2023 Apr.


While the health of airline pilots is crucial to ensuring the safe travel of millions of people worldwide, they remain vulnerable to a variety of health challenges due to the nature of their job. The purpose of this narrative review is to provide a comprehensive summary of the most common health issues experienced by commercial airline pilots. By examining the published literature on this topic, we sought to identify areas where further research is needed to understand better the health risks associated with being a pilot and to develop effective interventions to address these risks. We also highlight how recent technological advances in digital health can be leveraged to conduct research into the potential usefulness of telehealth assessments for identifying occupational hazards in the aviation sector and providing targeted interventions. Overall, addressing the challenges of taking care of pilots' health and ensuring public safety will require a collaborative effort among airlines, governments, and regulators. Prioritizing pilot health and safety can actually improve profitability in the aviation sector by reducing costs associated with absenteeism, turnover, and accidents.

Keywords: airline pilots; occupational health hazards; prevention; review article; screening.

Publication types

  • Review