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Would aviation underwriters suffer fewer losses if aircraft did not have pilots?


Publication date:

06 September 2021

Last updated:

06 September 2021


Suzanne Bazire

FCII dissertation on the future of aviation and pilotless aircraft.

Aviation is an ever-changing environment often affected by factors outside of its own control; terrorism, weather events or market forces can all exert significant and
unpredictable influence which the industry must withstand, often with no warning.

Every year an estimated 34.484 million commercial aircraft take to the skies, flying an estimated 3.969 billion passengers and millions of tons of freight to their destinations.

Pilots are highly trained but they are ordinary people; they may be tired, busy, stressed or they may have family and financial concerns. However, their failure to pay sufficient attention or be properly prepared for their day job can lead to catastrophic consequences.

Would aircraft be safer and therefore, aviation a more profitable class of business, if human pilots were removed from the equation?

To explore the future of aviation, this FCII dissertation explores the following:

  • Background to aviation risks
  • Argument against pilots
  • Argument for pilots
  • Recent technological developments
  • Challenges of technology
  • Prohibitors of pilotless aircraft


Read the report HERE


This document is believed to be accurate but is not intended as a basis of knowledge upon which advice can be given. Neither the author (personal or corporate), Society of Underwriting Professionals or Chartered Insurance Institute, or any of the officers or employees of those organisations accept any responsibility for any loss occasioned to any person acting or refraining from action as a result of the data or opinions included in this material. Opinions expressed are those of the author or authors and not necessarily those of the Society or Chartered Insurance Institute.