Air India has introduced a new requirement that all applicants for pilot positions sit a specialised psychometric examination to measure their mental health – but the move has had some unexpected consequences.
The exam is designed to weed out unstable candidates. It’s meant to reveal if applicants are depressive or have other potential problems, the Hindustan Times has reported. The test was devised after the Germanwings tragedy, when a crazed co-pilot locked himself in the cockpit and deliberately flew into the side of a mountain.
Unfortunately for Air India’s recruitment, about one third of pilots sitting its exam are failing. At least 130 pilots interviewed for jobs at the airline in the past nine months failed the psychometric examination, according to the Hindustan Times, which cited unnamed sources at Air India.
The airline has interviewed about 413 candidates since last December. Many passed the flight simulator and technical exams, only to fail the crucial mental health test.
Some pilots suggest the problem lies with the test, rather than with the applicants, but Air India is not compromising. India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) last year mandated regular monitoring of pilots’ mental health.
Others are asking what happens to the prospective pilots that Air India rejects. Do they go elsewhere and apply for jobs with airlines that don’t have the test?
Written by Peter Needham in New Delhi