Airline Accidents

The Influence of the Human Factor on Potential Airline Accidents

Human factor is a primary contributor of commercial airplane accidents. This is mainly associated with flight operations and human error, which are becoming a major threat in aircraft management and air traffic management. The importance of the term “human factor” in the recent past has grown tremendously, because the aviation industry has discovered that most of the accidents in the industry occur because of human error. This has removed the belief that mechanical failure was the major cause of aircraft management. Dealing with human factors is critical because it can help mitigate commercial aviation risks and accidents. Some of these human factors comprise unsafe supervision, unsafe acts, and organizational influences. The unsafe acts refer to both unintentional behaviors and violators, which consist of willful ignorance of the rules and regulations that cause airline accidents (Michael, 2001).

Some of these factors include:

Lack of knowledge. It is critical that aircraft operators acquire satisfactory training and qualifications necessary for their profession given that aircraft systems are complex. Similarly, airline organizations should ensure that their employees strictly adhere to their professional code. Inadequate knowledge leads to misjudging situations and making unsafe decisions that cause aircraft accidents (Sallus & Allard, 2010). Moreover, employees should take part in progressive and professional development aimed at acquainting them with knowledge on emerging issues.

Distraction. This refers to anything that draws employees’ attention from their professional tasks. It is advisable that craft operators complete one task before responding to another in order to reduce errors and forgetfulness.

Fatigue. This natural psychological reaction results from long periods of work or mental stress. It results in reduced levels of concentration, difficulties in remembrance, and poor decision-making. It is prudent that employees do not underestimate their levels of tiredness and overestimate their ability to cope with it because of its hazardous effects. This does not only affect the inexperienced pilots, but also the experienced. Likewise, researchers have said that poor judgment that results from fatigue is a major contributor of airline accidents.

Lack of proper communication. This is one of the key contributing and causal factors in aircraft accidents. Communication deals with the transmission and reception of information. It is critical since unclear transmission of information can result in fatal accidents (Isaac & Reutenberg, 2001). Likewise, assumptions of information in aviation should be avoided at whatever cost to evade poor actions that could cause huge losses of property and lives.

Complacency. Complacency is a feeling of self-satisfaction that causes the pilot to forget the possible dangers during a flight. Complacency mostly results from routine activities that become a safe and easy habit. Furthermore, this brings a sense of relaxation, and therefore, important signals that ensure safety during the flight are missed. Another incidence of complacency occurs when the pilot has too much pressure and stress causing reduced human performance, complacency, and lack of interest. In addition, assumptions that everything is in order, in particular due to regular airplane check-ups, can cause dangerous contentment, and therefore, pilots should embrace procedures that increase vigilance.

In conclusion, there is a great need for research on the methods that can be useful in enhancing the understanding of how people and technology can be incorporated with human factors to ensure safety and efficiency in the aviation industry. This is because people and technology are the key responsible factors that lead to aircraft accidents. Indeed, pilots and mechanical engineers in the sector must strive towards being knowledgeable, flexible, committed, and efficient as they exercise sound judgment, as this is vital in airplane management. Moreover, the aviation companies should ensure that they create awareness of human factor departments and specialists to handle the emerging issues that threaten safety in this industry.


Anca, J. M. (2012). Multimodal safety management and human factors. New York: Ashgate Publishing.
Isaac, A. R., & Reutenberg, B. (2001). Air traffic control. New York: Ashgate.
Michael, H. M. (2001). Aviation safety. Washngton: VSP.
Sallas, E., & Allard, T. (2010). Human factors in aviation (2nd ed.). New York: Academic Press.