The airline industry is moving towards Single Pilot Operations (SPO), as a result of the increased training and salary cost of pilots, and also as a remedy to the impending pilot shortage which is estimated to manifest itself in the years to follow. The main objective of this study was to explore whether the Greek public is willing to accept only one pilot onboard, what are the factors that affect this decision, and which is the preferred method of replacing the second pilot by choosing between an array of alternative options proposed by the industry.

Based on the qualitative findings of previous research, a close-ended scale was developed to explore the attitudes of the public quantitatively (N=414) through exploratory factor analysis and inferential statistics.

Results showed a fairly negative attitude of the public towards SPO (mean score of 3.61 on a differential scale of 1-7). Also, the result of the exploratory factor analysis included three factors, namely, the inherent concerns of the passengers, the degree of passenger’s safety awareness and the reputation of the airline company. Lastly, the participants of this study showed a preference for combining highly-sophisticated technology such as advanced automation with a permanent ground operator as the optimum solution to replacing the second pilot.

It is recommended that an integrated marketing strategy should be implemented at this time, so as to facilitate a smoother transition to SPO. This strategy should take into serious consideration the factors that affect the public’s intention to accept SPO. Finally, despite the overall conservative attitude of the passengers, there was no evidence of an impending failure of this innovation to diffuse into the market.



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