For airlines thorough pilot background checks are becoming a concurrent practice in the process of selecting their staff. Such checks ensure that potential employees are highly qualified, experienced and conscientious. However, in aviation practice one can find a number of deceptive resumes as well as examples of negligent background checks. Aviation market players must seek for ways to adjust the process in order to make sure that pilots with faulty information on their resumes fail to find their way into the industry.

20 years ago pilots were neither legally required to undergo background checks nor criminal record checks. The practice was first introduced in the United States after the Congress passed the legal act requiring thorough pilot background checks in 1997. The initiative to introduce such an act was largely prompted by seven previous aircraft catastrophes attributed to pilots with histories of problems in their former places of employment. The 1994 American Eagle aircraft catastrophe serves as a good example of tragic consequences negligence in pilot screening may have. According to the USA National Safety Commission, the accident which claimed lives of 15 people resulted from a faulty pilot decision regarding the assessment of engine failure. It turned out that American Eagle had employed the pilot without obtaining information about previous offences and problems in training which had resulted in him being fired by his last employer Comair. Thorough pilot background checks gained even more importance after the events of 9/11.

“Airlines concerned about the safety of their passengers require pilots to produce detailed accounts of their training, employment history and even the slightest previous offences. Many carriers outsource these responsibilities to specialized staff selection agencies, mostly the ones that specialize in aviation personnel leasing. This way the candidacies of future pilots are thoroughly examined by investigating not only personal data and training feedback but also the authenticity of owned licenses. Moreover, specially trained experts contact previous employers, consider reasons for ending contracts, perform thorough criminal checks and seek for information about the history of possible addictions,” – explained the CEO of AviationCV.com Skaiste Knyzaite.

Airlines in the European Union perform background checks of the last five years only. In the meantime, the North American carriers are legally required to produce pilot background checks dating back to at least 10 years. AviationCV.com points out that neither African nor the Near East-based carriers are currently under obligation to perform any pilot background checks.

“Pilot employment has ceased to be the concern of a single company. In order to ensure maximum safety and reliability, regardless of region or company employing a pilot, all the relevant information must be carefully examined, thoroughly checked and up to date. The process must include many aviation sector professionals as even the slightest mistake, a single knowingly or unknowingly omitted detail may result in immense losses for all involved,” – says S.Knyzaite.

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