A comparative analysis of job satisfaction among military and airline pilots: During, and post COVID-19

Panagiotis Kioulepoglou, Spyridon Chazapis, James Blundell

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This research aimed to examine the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Job Satisfaction of military and airline pilots, in order to identify factors that influence the sustainability of aviation operations during global economic shocks, through the prism of industrial and organizational (I/O) psychology. The primary focus was on identifying factors linked to pilots' Job Satisfaction differentiations over the time course of the pandemic, and proposing measures to mitigate their negative effects. Survey Job Satisfaction data were collected from 203 pilots during the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2021, and were subsequently measured in a quasi-identical sample of 205 pilots after the pandemic in May 2023. During the pandemic, the results indicate that airline pilots experienced an acute decrease in Job Satisfaction due to the disruptive nature of COVID-19. This decline was primarily attributed to factors such as pay cuts and reduced promotion prospects, which consequently resulted in feelings of limited job security and future uncertainty. Importantly, a substantial recovery of airline pilots JS was observed following the end of the pandemic. In contrast, military pilots' levels remained relatively constant over the duration of the pandemic, as military organizations typically received government provided financial security. To improve commercial sustainability, it is recommended that airline companies enhance their preparedness for future crises by minimizing the financial impact experienced by pilots. Additionally, effective communication strategies should be implemented to address and alleviate uncertainty among pilots. It is crucial to prevent adverse psychological conditions among pilots, as they play a critical role in maintaining flight safety.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101103
Number of pages12
JournalResearch in Transportation Business and Management
Early online date29 Jan 2024
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2024

Bibliographical note

© 2024 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).


  • Airline pilots
  • COVID-19 pandemic
  • Job satisfaction
  • Military pilots

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Decision Sciences(all)
  • Business and International Management
  • Transportation
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research


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