View Full Version : Flight Safety & Bean Counters!

8th Sep 2002, 16:42
I work for a UK based Charter Company and have just received information that our profit per employee has increased by 51% during the last year (2001/2002). It is obviously good that the Company is profitable, but surely not for the sake of flight safety, CAA please wake up.

I have many concerns that the Bean Counters, certainly with the recent levels of cost cutting, are not considering Flight Safety, in order to give Shareholder value.

I have witnessed a huge reduction in labour costs, resulting in over worked staff, operating very strange roster patterns due to the removal of a very good agreement post September 11th, leading to fatigue and possibly enforced errors.

Newly promoted management, effectively becoming puppets with management at board level pulling their strings, that have never been trained to carry out their new role, therefore eroding morale to the lowest levels ever witnessed, it's not the individuals fault, naturally they want to progress, but possibly getting in too deep.

Temporary contracts, what happened to Career structures?

I believe that if any Company out there requires very well trained and experienced pilots Boeing or Airbus qualified, that can wait for the 3 months notice period required, and can offer a good Career package with permanent prospects, then look no further than the UK Charter market, many of these crews have had enough.

I am deeply concerned that a serious incident or worse could be looming, lets pray that it does not happen.

I firmly believe that our company had to be pro active after last years disaster, but enough is enough,how long will they be able to use this as an excuse, maybe the prospects of a war in the Gulf is the next!

Maybe the unions need to be stronger.

There must be a safe balance of profit against safety.

Saddam if you read PPRUNE please let the inspectors in !!

:( :( :confused: :confused:

8th Sep 2002, 17:01
You could always raise a CHIRP.

8th Sep 2002, 17:23
if you check your OPS manual...it shows very clearly that you are the one who is responsible for any of these issues. The beancounters are only counting and introducing "cost" savings procedures, not any safety problems. If you cannot stand the latest developments (which I certainly understand as you are not alone with these thoughts), than call the unions, call the CAA, send a CHIRP, if all other ideas and approaches have failed.
However, as long as the introduced procedures remain within legal limits...

Anthony Carn
8th Sep 2002, 20:04
Bus429/Nightrider :
Have either of you ever contacted the union , CAA or CHIRP re any of the problems raised by Vertex , and got any real results from any of them ?

One certainly can't help but wonder how many times " pilot error " might have been due to other factors , and by how much it will increase in the perfect bean counting world our " leaders " seem to be continuously striving for !

It is of concern to me , and like Vertex , I don't see any personal impact that I can have whilst still retaining my job ! A major factor , obviously , is the type of management one is working for .

I agree with Vertex's opinion (?) that much stronger union ( sorry , association ) would be a huge step forward .

8th Sep 2002, 20:51
Anthony, to answer your question, yes, I did. And, to add to this, I am presently involved as a witness in a court case where exactly such procedures are questioned.
And I am in serious doubts that the claim will be successful as already several times the last sentence of my previous posting was used from all parties involved, and there is the CAA as well as one of the unions present.
And my posting is almost the exact wording which you will face from everyone you approach for help.
I am sorry to tell you this, and believe me that I know what I am talking about, there is, unfortunately, only you who can pull the plug and do not expect others to follow you.

8th Sep 2002, 22:34
Beancounters and Flightsafety is an 'oxymoron'(like military inteligence) ,but it isn't only prevalent with the 'Charter' field.
The big Co's only give 'token'credit to their safety Mngrs/assoc reps until there's a serious incident or smoking hole.Then they reinvent the wheel!!!
The only safety factor you have is yourself.Charter Co' chief pilots know the only exist because of the professionism of their flight crews(crumbs if we carried on like the other Dept's,there'd be wrecks from coast to coast)...
As has been pointed out,if it's(the situation)is as bad as you say,start to 'talk' it up amongst your serious peers.Document areas of concern'Fatique' etc,and send it to the proper recipients( the Firm's mngrs)..Once it's a matter of record someone will react,even if you only refer to the concerns as 'percieved'...Naturally send the Documents to the 'internal' Mngrs first..(if conditions warrant it ,carbon copy then further)
At the present time the B/Counters have the field as there is a surplus of trained people(3 month contracts),once the surplus has 'dried' up they will be forced to offer a more stable outlook to candidates.....:rolleyes:

Nils Taurus Excretus
9th Sep 2002, 04:42
If they could make more money running a hotel then we would be sweeping floors and making beds.

They have no interest, personal, professional or otherwise than making money and advancing themselves by whatever method is most expeditious.. that is their business and only interest, whether you and your crew/pax etc eat, breathe, live or die is inconsequential.. if the insurance can cover it and they will continue to maximise their personal profit then that is all that matters to them.

You and the other professionals around you are your only salvation.

9th Sep 2002, 06:16
If you identify a manager pushing out an instruction that definitely has adverse Flight Safety implications, a letter to him, not only stating that you have now set out the position, but reminding him/her of their responsibilities under company / CAA regulations (might not apply to all managers), and "Corporate Manslaughter" charges (applies to all managers), has worked for me.

An example...
Arrive at Italian outstation. CSD (head Cabin Crew in BA) complains to local staff about steps being used, which do not match aircraft at the sides, leaving room for a child to run through and fall to the ground. 767, so probably fatal.

CSD has previously complained about this specifically, and to a named manager at LHR months before, and again since. Nothing done.

I took a digital picture of the steps against the aircraft door, showing the size of person that could slip through there.

On arrival at LHR, went to see said manager with CSD, eMailed him picture, and stated that if anybody fell though that gap 1 hour later, I would quite happily restate our conversation and eMail / picture to any prosecuter wishing to know more...

Funny old thing - problem was cured within the hour...


9th Sep 2002, 06:42
The only anwer to this problem is for the, in the case of European charter companies, European commision to stop playing around and address the problem of essential, emergency and travel industry working practices. It is all to easy to impose working time regulations on employers and industry in general but to ignore the above. As I have mentioned on another thread, it amazes me that my working practices mean that I can land 200+ people in a state of fatigue such that I am unsafe to drive home and sleep in the car park! The involvement of unions etc is a waste of time, they can only tinker with the problem. The companies will not put themselves in a un competitive position, also of course the working practices must apply to all companies working out of European states.

Nigel, you are responsible for safely dis embarking your pax, not some manager in LHR. Corporate manslaughter charges do not apply to all managers.

Airbus Girl
9th Sep 2002, 08:24
vertex, totally agree with your post. E-mail DS on the CC, he is collating info on some of the bad rostering practices that have been taking place this summer, he is on the CAA committee as well as on our own CC. I don't think that our company using loopholes in CAP371 is safe, despite it being legal (just). It doesn't help when you have to argue with crewing, who want you to bend the rules and do something illegal.
Still, the good thing is that morale cannot get any lower amongst flight deck or cabin crew, so the only way now is up!
And we have a new CP....

9th Sep 2002, 15:09
Doubtless Airbus girl, the first thing your new CP will do is ask why you haven't approached him with your concerns rather than, on a public forum, accuse your company of underhand and illegal practices . Sometimes it pays to engage brain before keyboard. Same goes for you Vertex.

9th Sep 2002, 16:26
A few years ago at a well known scheduled a/l based in the South of England they were changing rosters as they pleased. They would think nothing of changing a late to an early start with less than 12 hours notice. After a while I got a bit sick of this so I called the CAA and discussed the situation with someone in the FTL section. The next morning they ramp checked the company at LGW found evidence of "rostering patterns against the spirit of the FTL scheme" and used this as an excuse to do an ops check of the Co. Needless to say the practice stopped. Its always worth having an off the record chat to someone at the CAA, they can be very helpful, especially when safety is concerned.

Anthony Carn
9th Sep 2002, 19:04

I assume that , in your experience , all of your CP's have been approachable , would listen to what you had to say , and act fairly in response without bearing a long term grudge or resenting your input .

Not all CP's in all companies are the same , though !

To quote myself from further back in this thread , " A major factor , obviously , is the type of management one is working for ."


You obviously don't work for some of the management I've worked for , otherwise something else would have happened very quickly --- to you ! Does'nt mean that I don't applaud your actions -- I think that your method was superb . In some companies , though , this could constitute self destruction .

9th Sep 2002, 19:17
Vertex, two abbreviated quotes from your post:

I have witnessed a huge reduction in labour costs, resulting in over worked staff, ... /cut

Newly promoted management, effectively becoming puppets with management at board level pulling their strings, that have never been trained to carry out their new role ... /cut

Both of these comments could (and have) been made against almost all companies in the UK. I agree that you have the problem that mistakes in your area mean possible death but we only have to consider poor crowd control at a football match and we have the same result. Another example is food companies and restaurants that poison their customers but there are not enough Environmental Health inspectors.

"There must be a safe balance of profit against safety."
There is - but the management will not know where it is until the balance has tipped. Check Herald of Free Enterprise, London Underground King's Cross and a number of others.

It is the nature of capitalism that it will allow things to slide until they have slid onto the floor and broken in to small pieces. Then AND ONLY THEN will a manager be given the money and power to fix it. That is because the system knows that fixing broken things makes more economical sense than preventing them from breaking in the first place.

"Saddam if you read PPRUNE please let the inspectors in !!"
A very good comment. The only problem is that Inspectors cost money and so we return to your first point in a neatly circular problem. I do hope that you are able to help break the circle.

9th Sep 2002, 20:24
Well Anthony, I have found most CP,s to be slightly more reliable than the anonymous entries on these forums.