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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 20th Dec 2003, 23:35
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Unhappy Tired budget jet pilots 'endanger passengers' - The Times

Seems the public will get the impression we are all going to work to sleep off the night before at this rate!

MORE than a million people flying on Christmas holidays with budget airlines may be putting their lives in the hands of an exhausted pilot. A study into the stress and fatigue suffered by budget airline pilots found...


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Old 20th Dec 2003, 23:55
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Let's hope that a very reasonable and fair report from this authoratitive journal prevents incidents from turning into an accident.
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Old 21st Dec 2003, 00:06
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unless there is an 'incident' nothing will change...isnt it about time balpa/caa etc got together and sorted out this potentially huge problem,before its too late?
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Old 21st Dec 2003, 04:49
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"An easyJet spokesman said that its pilots earned £50,000 to £100,000. “We don’t pretend to get it right all the time. If we treated people badly, they would go and work for someone else.”

Well there's a manager with a good grasp of the issue, I don't think! A mind incapable of distinguishing S-A-F-E-T-Y from industrial relations has no place in an airline IMHO.
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Old 21st Dec 2003, 05:17
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This is not the first academic report to conclude that there are safety concerns in the way some airlines are run these days. Take a look at this report that was commissioned for the JAA and published in August 2001:


This paragraph in the executive summary will strike a chord with airline pilots:

'Unsympathetic rostering increases fatigue, upsets sleep patterns, reduces morale and has a detrimental effect on the personal life of crew. In some cases this is combined with a reduced ratio of crew per aircraft, leading to a loss of flexibility and pressure to fly despite personal welfare.'

The point is that the CAA know about these problems and do not act. Who controls CAP 371? Commercial airline management or the regulator?

Better to put a lower limit on the maximum number of flying hours now than suffer the consequences of a fatigue related accident.

With these types of reports in the public domain it might be very difficult for the existing hierarchy at the CAA to remain in place in that terrible event.

Last edited by Spartacan; 22nd Dec 2003 at 01:06.
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Old 21st Dec 2003, 18:16
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I´ve worked for a large low-cost carrier and have felt the fatigue following a constant change in sleep patterns caused by numerous changes to the published roster.

At one point I asked crewing if it was possible that I could be taken off two of the next days four sectors, since I had been doing four days in a row with maximum duty time and I was feeling very tired - and they told me that it was my own problem since I shouldn´t feel tired because the rostering (including the changes) were legal and within limits.

This is just one example of a tendency that I felt while working for that company, to look strictly at the rules and not "the spirit" of the law.

Spending a huge amount of money on training in the sim simply can´t replace a decent rostering practice, because allthough proffesionalism among the pilots will always be important, so is the fact that they are well rested before every flight - something that can be quite difficult to achieve working under that kind of rostering.
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Old 21st Dec 2003, 18:22
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Easyjet spokesman comments sum up easyjet management.
We cant sort it so Piss off!
Stelios come back and sort it
and send kiwi fruit packing.

5 years of easyspin doctors NO result.
New entrants BE AWARE!
By the way if the comments in the article are T Ns you should be FIRED.{you are a disgrace}.
Please come out of disneyland for 3 night athens in a row.
Youd last one at the most

Easyjets fundamental problem is this.
Commercial think lets expand get into germany etc.
Operationally we havent got the pilots to do it.
Thats ok we will screw the crews like always.{meaning poor rostering and crewing}.
Pilots leave causing more training of pilots .{more expense}.
Notice a pattern here.
The above is easyjet to anyone thinking of joining.
Do easyjet actually want pilots to stay ?
Easyjet is merely a training ground for other airlines.
Its not a long term career move by any stretch of the imagination.

Save you a fortune with training costs.
Unless of course someones running a back handed deal with CTC.

Last edited by mjenkinsblackdog; 23rd Dec 2003 at 16:34.
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Old 21st Dec 2003, 19:21
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If this had been the result of a journalistic investigation rather than a university study, I suspect that people here would be lining up to mock any suggestion of a fatigue problem and deriding the reporter to boot.
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Old 21st Dec 2003, 22:35
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Crewing bonus

I find it absoulutely disgusting that the aim of crewing at the mo is to "utilise the crew to use the 100" other than have safety at the top of the list, & quality of life - to stop people jumping ship and more costs incured by the company in the long run.

Hopefully something will be done before an accident
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Old 21st Dec 2003, 22:37
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There is no doubt whatsoever that this report is substantially correct. The majority of pilots at easyJet feel tremendous fatigue as a result of the 6/3 rostering which often turns into 7/2.
We, the Comapny Council have been tasked with getting this changed into some sort of bearable lifestyle and we are progressing slowly but steadily, against some resistance from the company who promised 5/3 but then could not deliver thanks to the CAA not bending over for them as they confidently predicted. The company, as it has been so often pointed out in this forum, will not do anything unless they have to, so there will be the inevitable flexing of muscle but we will get our way or pilots will leave in droves.
It is a pity that the majority of these people who are obstacles, are themselves postholders who bear some corporate responsibilty towards their workers. God forbid, when a pilot falls asleep as I'm told is happening often lately, should the outcome ever be a disaster, these people will bear the full brunt of any consequences as they have been told about the problem but refuse to act!
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Old 22nd Dec 2003, 00:09
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Point 1: pilots are leaving this company in large numbers, even willing to take risks with new start ups just to get out.

Point 2: the rosters at said company are still deteriorating, and BALPA are now fighting hard just to maintain the status quo rather than gaining improvements.

Point 3: there seems to be a conflict of interest in the CAA between regulation and safety oversight and its financial relationship with "customer" airlines.
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Old 22nd Dec 2003, 00:19
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Sadly the CAA will only sit up when a serious incident or accident occurs.{god forbid}.
The Caa should be putting different rules in place specifically for LOW COST carriers.

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Old 22nd Dec 2003, 00:37
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The lo-co's that are currently pushing crews to the CAP 371 limit (sometimes beyond) *and* demanding that new start first officers pay for type ratings and/or ask for line training payments on the first 10/50/100 sectors must be adding extra stress onto those pilots.

The CAA seems to be a lapdog to "commercial" pressures and react accordingly. Pilots don't do themselves any favours either. Willing to stamp on peoples heads to get a job and then a lack of solidarity when industrial action could save terms, conditions or even have safety implications. I would hate to mention a date in Southern Hemisphere history that occured a year before 1990.

Anyone remember the name Stuart Clapson? At the time his treatment by his employer was fairly well documented on PPRuNe, there was much gnashing of teeth and beating of chests, but did anything change because of it? Apparently not. A manager at BA summed the situation up fairly succinctly at the time, "give it 6 months and they [the pilots] will have forgotten about it."

From what I have seen and experienced, BALPA hav much more interest in BA's pension scheme than anyone or anything else. Until rostering up to and beyond CAP 371 limits affect BA pilots little will happen. Even if it does affect them I do wonder if the British Airways Line Pilot Association would do anything significant.

What do I know though? I am just an informed idiot.
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Old 22nd Dec 2003, 00:51
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Having reviewed the Times article again, I'd like to point out that:

1) Pilots at easyJet do not earn 50-100k, more like 30-75 (except managers or trainers).

2) That this has no relevance to fatigue, but the management quote shows how they think that payment of crew means ownership of crew, and that it justifies a callous disregard for the health or the safety of crews, and hence pasengers.

3) That it is not an issue sometimes dismissed by management. This has been the top priority for the crews and councils alike for the last 4 years. During that time it has only got worse. There is a systematic approach of squeezing the maximum legal duty out of every crew member, regardless of the safety consequences.

4) Pilots falling asleep at the controls is not as uncommon as one would think here, but it is not reported, as the pilots in question fear dubious disciplinaries and nothing would be changed anyway.
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Old 22nd Dec 2003, 03:13
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Back to Middle Age

Sad to see Airline management free to fly backward to the 50s, before adapted working rules were negociated or edicted by responsible administrations.

Had the occasion to fly when the ENTIRE crew was asleep upon this period.......and I was one of them!

It seems nowadays Government and Administrations don't worry anymore about public safety, they are only interested in economy, profits, stock exchange rates......
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Old 22nd Dec 2003, 04:26
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Worth a read (with a pinch of salt). The UK lo co airlines are going down the same road;

Flying Blind Flying Safe

The FAA Vs ValuJet
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Old 22nd Dec 2003, 16:49
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The simple fact is that RW is a bully and the rest of management appear weak/frightened of him. As with all bullies, they will not back down until somebody with a bigger stick comes along .. that would have been the BALPA council if more people had joined balpa even if it was only for 6-12 months.That time has passed and is possibly lost for ever.

Another point I'd like to mention, MOL and RW are driven by keeping costs down. MOL seems to get this right. On the other hand easy management appear to think " look after the pennies and the £s will look after themselves" . Infact in easys case it's a case of "penny wise,pound foolish" ......

The "De-icing fiasco "of 3 winters ago was suppossed to save the company approx £200- £230,000 in one winter season ...infact it cost the company approx £2.8 million in 3 days of shambles, returning fares to pax delayed more than 4 hours, sub charters, hotel bills ,coaches,taxis , meals for delayed pax etc.

The rostering fiasco of march -july 2002 was blamed on a new computer rostering programme, a programme that B.A. uses I believe. HOWEVER it was NOT the rostering programme BUT the " CREW PAIRING" (that was suppossed to save the company £200,000 per month in reduced hotel bills and over night allowances ) that must have cost the company £10s of millions.

Crew pairing involved a system whereby if I was flying 4 sectors (the norm), I could expect to fly with 4 different flt deck members, up to 12 different cabin crew members, probably have one a/c change and all thrown in with 20/25 minute turn rounds. It doesn't take rocket science to see that one a/c delayed by 1hour due tech or ATC on the first wave becomes 3 a/c on the second wave and becomes 9 a/c on the third wave ie mid morning . Result : the VERY expensive shambles of summer 2002.

Titan had an a/c and crew fly one complete line of flying throughout that summer( we were told so that it would give us better quaility of life... as if RW really cares).Rumour has it that Monarch made £10s of millions in that season from easyJet. How much did easy spend on other individual charters? No doubt this has all been put down as unforseen /extra ordinary operational expenses

No wonder this is the worst company that I ever worked for...........sorry, I don't see it changing, thats why I left......for a much better lifestyle.

Merry Christmas to all my Ex -colleagues in easyJet ....IF YOU HAVE TIME TO ENJOY IT.
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Old 22nd Dec 2003, 17:08
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White Horse

I only know one bloke who works for easyjet, but he seems very happy.

Your post may be a bit out of date?

Happy Christmas
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Old 22nd Dec 2003, 17:11
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White horse is correct and almost up to date.
Rostering and crewing are well below standard.
Is your mate RW?

Last edited by mjenkinsblackdog; 22nd Dec 2003 at 17:24.
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Old 22nd Dec 2003, 17:23
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Would someone be kind enough to publish an old or disguised roster for EZ?

Lots of the points made about random early's/lates disrupted sleep patterns sound familiar to me working for a large full service airline at londons 2nd airport.

Had the article in question included this airline, I'm fairly sure it would have made the national TV news.

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