The Impact of Automation on the Aviation Industry

The Impact of Automation on the Aviation Industry

Automation refers to the concept of completing tasks through electrical or mechanical ways. It also involves the application of technology in the production of goods and services while making systems or items to operate (Akay et al., 2007) automatically. In this case, most of the companies or sectors ensure that technology monitors and overseas some or all production processes. Since most of the tasks handled through automation, are above human physical and cognitive limits, most of the sectors, including the aviation industry, embrace it. 

The utilization of automation in aeronautical operations possess a long history. The beginning of commercial flights in the 1950s, together with the adoption of the Computer Reservation System (CRS) was the move towards technological advancement (Pervez, n.d.). By using CRS, passengers could book their tickets as well as check-in easily. Although most of the areas still operated manually, some crucial parts adopted automation (Pervez, n.d.). Consequently, the aviation industry witnessed the implementation of autopilot and the incorporation of other technological improvements in various areas that would reduce human operations in the industry.  

The aviation industry is witnessing the shift towards digital systems in diverse areas of operation. The adoption of automation in this industry is a move aimed at the reduction of errors in the whole aeronautical processes (Akay et al., 2007). The main factor leading to the shift towards the decrease in the workload of crew members, upgrading of the systems, and cockpit automation is because humans cause about 73 percent of the accidents in the world (Akay et al., 2007). The use of technology presents diverse impacts in the aeronautical industry. 

The use of autopilot improves the pilots' abilities in handling various tasks. Pilots are now able to focus on other activities in the plane, such as attending to emergencies (Borst, 2019). For instance, if passengers experience some medical emergencies, or there are mechanical or issues on weather, pilots will be able to attend to them and quickly come up with contingencies (Borst, 2019). It is essential to note that automation improves efficiency in the operation of airplanes, reduces fatigue, and helps in flying faster by using less fuel. 

The use of automated processes in the aviation industry helps elevates security and improved onboard operations. The impact of computerized activities is visible through the use of autothrottles. This technological application helps in controlling the planes’ thrusts and management of fuel’s flow (Beresnevicius, 2019). Besides, automated operations are essential in reducing human involvement, thus reduced exhaustion of pilots, especially on long flights. Technology also makes it easy to identify engine parameters and power control during taking off. The use of automated processes enhances maximum braking and reduces probable cases of crashing and, in this case, reduce instances like what happened on Flight 3407 of Colgan’s Air (Beresnevicius, 2019). Additionally, the use of Flight Management Systems (FMS) helps in managing most of the tasks in the airlines (Beresnevicius, 2019). Although controlled by the pilots through the Control Display Unit (CDU), the FMS performs tasks such as identifying flight positions and sensor management. 

In conclusion, the adoption of automation by the aviation industry is essential in creating awareness about the position of flights, thus reducing collisions and wandering in the wrong directions. Also, it reduces operating costs and improved efficiency in service delivery. However, the implementation of automated processes leads to reduced human activities, leading to increased unemployment. 


Akay, D., Eraslan, E., & Yoldaş, C. (2007). The Impact of Automation and FMS in Flight Safety: Results of a Survey and an Experimental Study. LNAI4562, 631–638.

BERESNEVICIUS, R. (2019, May 24). Automation in the Aviation Industry - The Future Is Automated. Aerotime.Aero.

Borst, M. (2019). How has automation transformed aviation? Sae.Org.

Pervez, S. (n.d.). Impact of Automation in Aviation. Retrieved April 8, 2020, from


Published on: 9 Apr 2020

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