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Tired budget jet pilots 'endanger passengers' - The Times

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Tired budget jet pilots 'endanger passengers' - The Times

Old 29th Dec 2003, 04:25
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Mr Angry from Purley

One (of the many) reasons the FR FTL policy won't fit into the EZ model, is that EZY aircraft operate virtually round the clock, FR do not.

They are 2 completely different SCHEDULING policies, that means the FR ROSTERING policy just won't work at EZY without significant alteration.

Believe me we've looked at it!!!!!!!!

Bringing about fatigue reducing rostering remains the highest priority for the Balpa reps at EZ. We even get sh1t for that from some!

We have to try simply because no-one else is!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 29th Dec 2003, 04:58
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Mr A from P

So your so sad Mr A from P that you think airline pilots should work a 60 hour week with little time off to recover from 11 hour working days.

On their days off they can catch up with the ops manual amendments and revise for their recurrent checks I suppose.

Nobody should be required to work 7 days in a row for 60 hours in a working week. It is unsafe and unfair to the travelling public.
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Old 29th Dec 2003, 19:54
  #83 (permalink)  
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Back on page 1 Tristar Freak makes a good point about the 'British Airways Line Pilot Association' being more concerned with their members retirement planning & alimony payments management than the real issues.. like LCC's pushing crews to the limit and leaching aspiring pilots of yet another 15-25K for the B737 rating.

A look at the majority of Balpa 'Tech Log's supports this assumption fairly me thinks.

When will anything be done about the way this industry is headed?
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Old 30th Dec 2003, 02:08
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"When will anything be done about the way this industry is headed?"


It's happening now, by the likes of you and me and everyone else who's contributed to this discussion.

We're starting the change.

Just refuse to accept a flight duty if you are suffering from fatigue.

Simple as that.
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Old 30th Dec 2003, 17:46
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This is why BALPA should be looking this & representing ALL.

Guys are afraid of putting their hand up because of the fear of standing out from the crowd & looking bad in the eyes of the company who invite you for a one way conversation.

Every one must stand together on this issue, and the safest way to do it is on mass
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Old 31st Dec 2003, 13:12
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Not the case at NJE........Sincerely........off-shore contract is the carrot, tax-free salary, aswell as the attraction to live anywhere in Europe, command within a year, with not a leg to stand on if you make a stand on certain issues.........especially when it comes to FTL.......No Balpa=no security.
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Old 31st Dec 2003, 17:08
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Hey guys, PLEASE ease up on the constant knocking of the BALPA/BA scene.
I was working for a respected independent in the late 80s which was taken over by BA. We quickly found out that the grass is very green in BA in most aspects of the job....safety, salary, working conditions etc. While working for BA I began to realise the importance of the close liaison of BALPA and BA to the benefit of the ENTIRE UK pilot force. Somebody has to set the standards and, believe me, without BA, things would be very much worse. The voice of 3,300 pilots is strong and necessary.
I am very lucky to be sitting at home on a BA pension...an example to the rest of the industry.

As an aside, I recently had a conversation with a senior CAA doctor. He made the comment that ''in most cases, I can tell the difference between a BA pilot and those from the low-cost operators, purely by physical medical eveidence''. They are aware of the fatigue problem and it is being closely monitored
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Old 31st Dec 2003, 21:01
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"They are aware of the fatigue problem and it is being closely monitored".
I wish they quit monitoring and started doing something. Be it either BALPA, management, CAA or others.
Back to bed....
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Old 1st Jan 2004, 00:45
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I hope that something will be done, but the debate must extend beyond simply the fatigue question. If you keep it limited to that, we already know what the airline management's stratergy is; to maximise the work rate of pilots: i.e. employ as few pilots (crews) as possible and fly the a/c as much a possible. If you attack the fatigue question to find out the fatigue threshold, then that will be grasped as acceptable and used to its full.
However, and this is a British desease IMHO, there is more to life than work. I find it inconsitent (being polite) that the goverment of any party trumpets the value of family satbility and then will not acknowledge that to achieve it there has to be a limit on work hours and a true balance in work and social life. The UK strongly opposed the limit on weekly working hours in the EU. Seems 48 was not considerd enough, (especially for crews). The government said this was too little. When do they think parents can exercise guidance over their off- spring? Further, to have a healthy work force, there has to real quality time off, not just recovery time. I found I was working harder on my days off, with domestic chores, than when at work staying in hotels. Too much had mounted up while away.There was little time for real relaxation and recuperation.

Rather than isolate the argument to fatigue prevention, I believe the debate has to include total quality of life. A report published in UK claimed that acohol related matters cost the economy 10 billion pa. Another says that lower back problems cost X,000.000 days off work = squillions. Somewhere there is a professor who could tell us what all the run-about kids, general hooliganism, divorce, associated stresses etc cost the economy. I think avaiation people fall into all those categories, but unlike ground based industries with employee care programs (not nanny state, just good personnel managment and morale/motivation/loyalty packages) airlines in general seem to offer very little.
"If it don't contribute to the direct operation of the a/c we ain't going to do it or spend it. "

That was the enlightened attitude of one past M.D.

Why is it that aviation is operatiing on a different wavelength to all other industries? The Dark Ages are alive and well.
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Old 1st Jan 2004, 03:37
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I have been following the discussion on easyJ with great interest. It seems to me that all of you who are complaining that you have to"work" too hard, knew the conditions at easyJ very well when you signed your contract. So complaining afterwards that you have to work too hard seems a bit childish and unfair.( compareble to those persons who buy cheap land near an airport and afterwards try to close down the airport because airplanes are too noisy).
Maybe you should spend a bit more time thinking of those who have to work 6 days a week 14hrs a day for 1/5th of the money you make and who do not complain.
So ladies and gentlemen, if you are unhappy with easyJ, leave the company and try to find out if it is any better elswhere (maybe you should try the coal mines), I bet you a lot of girls and guys will be happy to take your place.

To all of you a happy newyear and keep
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Old 1st Jan 2004, 04:03
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Coal mines


Just like Sabena all the coal mines have closed down in the UK.

The Mines were considered bad for the workers health.

So the government got rid of the troublesome mines.

By the way the conditions of employment have changed that is why some people are upset.
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Old 1st Jan 2004, 18:18
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So your saying if you got paid more then the fatigue /rostering problem would go away, defeats point of the issue somewhat...


I agree but surely you have to move forward, ie 5 earlies 3 off, 5 lates 3 off, and sort the rest out. What i'm trying to say is that CAP371 contributes to poor rostering @ EZY and EI rules give good rosters and nil complaint at RYR (or refer to 5by5 comment?)


I don't think my post was pilot bashing so why is it sad?. I've supported you lot for bout 25 years now, probably work twice as hard (but i can't throw the safety card in which i accept without complaint) and rostered thousands of Pilots "most" of whom were happy. If you do a 60 hr week (which if your working 7 x 11 hour days doesn't add up) then on rolling limits it will catch up with you. I've seen it as i've experimented between fixed weeks and rolling at a previous life. As to the question if you should be working a 60 hr 7 day week, oh god i'm going all Pilot friendly again probably not in a LCC carrier but its difficult to say not having worked for an LCC. Back to my original argument, CAP371 was out of date when Charter carriers were pushing it to its limit, but they got away with it because it was seasonal work 6 months of it then about the third week of Nov crews started to moan they not flying!. With LCC its year round slog. Yuk.

Rat 5 i agree

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Old 1st Jan 2004, 18:20
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This is the airline that advertised for pilots who were fed up of night flying... and then started some of the most tiring night duties I've seen... and lured people in with promises of 'unrivalled career opportunities' (see top of page!!), but repeatedly refuses career progression if anyone expresses an opinion, that says that it has a 'unique open culture' and yet hardly ever ansers queries from crews put to managers... that enticed people to come and fly new aircraft, and yet has done nothing about the appalling state of some of the old -300s...

So, you're off the mark with your comments. Don't foregt that this lot have been ruining the industry for all of us, so much so that there arent any jobs eleswhere to go to. So Back off.
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Old 1st Jan 2004, 19:42
  #94 (permalink)  
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Actually I think Highwaves has a point

'It seems to me that all of you who are complaining that you have to"work" too hard, knew the conditions at easyJ very well when y
ou signed your contract. So complaining afterwards that you have to work too hard seems a bit childish and unfair.( compareble to those persons who buy cheap land near an airport and afterwards try to close down the airport because airplanes are too noisy).'

Unfortunately this is not really what this thread is about. It's not to do with the people who have accepted these jobs, rather that people are flying under these conditions which may possibly be unsafe.

Sure 'if you can't handle the heat, get out', but these places would only be filled with other people who would also suffer from fatigue.

The fact is that it is not an ideal situation and no matter what anyone says, fatigue greatly increases the chance of an accident.

It really is up to the workforce to band together and try and sort this one out.
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Old 1st Jan 2004, 19:50
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I agree with much that has been said here and so wont repeat it. However, I note with interest `Openfly`s comment re. BALPA and the rest of the pilot workforce.
I happen to know that fairly recently BALPA negotiated with BA that if a pilot was off sick over days off he/she must have that time off after reporting fit for duty. The argument being that being `fit for duty` doesn`t necessarily mean `rested`. The company agreed. this could be lauded as a sensible safety approach to rest.
If BALPA thinks its so important for BA pilots why isnt it made a standard requirement in every BALPA airline?

Re. EZY change from 6/3 to 5/3, dont be under any illusion! The only way the company can possibly consider it is if they can get as much work out of you in 5 days as they do in 6!!! The fact is you will be so knackered after those 5 days you will need the 3 off just to be able to do the next 5 on!
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Old 1st Jan 2004, 20:51
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No Ax,

Having done some intensive block flying, I can assure you that 5/3 is preferable to 6/3 even if you work more during your days on.

I did it for a year for EZY/EZS when the GVA outfit didn't have enough pilots. I got 100hrs per month (legal under Swiss law) and blocks of days off.

It isn't for everyone (I was living away from my main home) but it worked fine for me.

I think the lesson is that different pilots have different requirements. Some like weekends off. Some like early shifts. Some like intensive blocks - then a good block of free days. Some would even welcome a block of the dreaded night ATH - rather than one here and there - at least you can plan your sleep pattern.

This can be dealt with on a fairly straightforward bidding system and actually gives the company what it wants too - a pool of willing pilots when it needs them.

The problem is convincing people that it will work - pilots as well as overstressed management.
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Old 1st Jan 2004, 21:09
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Mr AofP - That's not what I was saying - albeit that it might be something of a causal effect wherein people in glass houses quickly learn not to throw stones, i.e. the RYR pilots do very nicely out of working hard(er) in that the more they work the more they get paid, i.e. as the bulk of what they earn is tied to duty/flight pay ( not ‘salary’ ) – and whether that is a good of bad thing is open to conjecture.

That said, and just so that we're sure where I stand, for a long time I have suggested that the airline industry is going the way of the shipping industry, i.e. becoming employment fit only for the desperate, supported by wishy-washy unions with no teeth, suffering from ever increasing rules & bureaucracy, with ever worsening terms & conditions, coupled with reducing salaries and benefits.

Indeed I somewhat despair for those who aspire to become airline pilots, and can only relate it to them climbing a mountain wherein, once started, the climb to the top becomes their very raison d'ętre, but once they reach the top it's actually a bit of a disappointment - and, ironically, that disappointment is one of our own making induced by our very lassitude at taking militant action to make redress and / or lack of solidarity.

I think it would be true to say that thing’s ain’t gonna get better - not unless the regulatory authorities step-in on out behalf and / or that we, as a group, become a lot more interested in stopping the decline....... it could be a long wait !
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Old 1st Jan 2004, 22:20
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I'm surprised nobody has mentioned CHIRP. (or did I miss it?).

A non-collusive flood, or even a good trickle, of reports to them with brief graphic descriptions of, for example:
Post-fatigue adrenalin rushes,
and in particular any report any instance of crewing/commercial pressure on you to operate when you have declared yourself unfit to do so.
- will certainly generate pressure in the right quarters from a highly respected source and respect your anonymity within the company, be that EZY or elsewhere.

In my direct experience the director (still PT?) will respond and take action in the interests of both the travelling public and all professional aviators.
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Old 1st Jan 2004, 23:20
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Not much point in Chirp if it won't name and shame the airline at fault whilst protecting the crew's annonymity.

Highwaves and Sooty:

Are you so foolish as to believe the crews signed their contracts in full knowledge of what was to come? The point is that easyJet managers lie through their teeth and that each 6 months everything changes significantly for the worse. Nobody at EZY minds working hard, but the schedule of that work MUST be such that it does not induce fatigue.

Whilst the rosters fall within the bounds of 371's numerical values (FDP, Min Rest etc), it completely ignores the paragraph stating that work preiods must not be scheduled in a way aggravating to fatigue. This means that EZY are in contravention of 371 and their AOC. Should not SRG and BALPA be suing for wreckless endangerment of life and breach of the ANO?
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Old 1st Jan 2004, 23:46
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Harry again,

'unique open culture'

I have to agree. It makes me sick every time I see that advert on PPRUNE. The Flight Safety Manager and BL have struggled to keep FLIRAS confidential. In fact I've never seen a company which such a worrying blame culture.
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