Swiss bank UBS has claimed single-pilot commercial and cargo planes could take to the skies within five years.
The staffing changes forecasted by UBS would reflect the number of pilots on a long-haul flight falling from three to two, with one resting as the other sits in the cockpit seat.
In its study published last week, the lender estimated that such a transition could lead to a cost-saving opportunity for the industry of at least $15 billion.
Report co-author and head of EMEA industrials research at UBS, Celine Fornaro, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Europe” on Friday that the public didn’t realize how close the transition could be.
“You could have single pilot operations for cargo planes and passenger planes, particularly on long-haul, sooner than you expect,” she said, adding that “2022 or 2023 is realistic.”
Fornaro claimed that a pilot is typically in full control of a jet plane for an average of just seven minutes on each flight, essentially taking the reins during take-off and landing.