The possibility that future airliners might be flown by a single pilot keeps showing up in speculation and even official research, and VNV, the association representing Dutch commercial pilots, is concerned enough to label it an "irresponsible and unnecessary gamble with air safety.
Several aircraft manufacturers, including Airbus and Dassault, have acknowledged working on planes designed to be flown by one person, and at least one airline, Cathay Pacific, is said to be thinking of flying current planes with a single pilot at the controls except during takeoff and landing.
The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has commissioned a study into the feasibility of single-pilot planes, due to be published this summer. Cathay Pacific's reported plan would reduce the number of pilots on its super-long haul flights from four to two, with the pilots alternating cockpit time for most of the trip.
VNV told Dutch broadcaster NOS some of its reasons for opposing the idea: “What if the pilot suddenly feels unwell? Then you’re glad that there are two pilots up front. Or imagine the pilot needs the toilet. Should they keep an eye on the plane with their trousers round their ankles, or is there nobody at the controls? Taking a pilot out of the cockpit won’t improve any safety issues; in fact it will create one.”