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Aer Lingus suspends pilots & ops (merged)

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Aer Lingus suspends pilots & ops (merged)

Old 6th Jun 2002, 23:18
  #221 (permalink)  

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Best to adjust your reading/posting ratio until you've figured out what goes on in this industry
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Old 7th Jun 2002, 01:20
  #222 (permalink)  
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Perhaps you will dismiss the responses to you by pilots as special pleading. I am not a pilot. I am not in the airline business. I am an employer and business owner.

I can tell you the following. We know that in the well-regulated countries there is an average of 1 airliner hull loss for every 750,000 cycles. We also know (i.e. have measured) that at certain levels of lack of flight crew rest before a given flight (the formula is a complex one that calculates the effects of variables such as time zone changes, length of the previous flight, and so on) the probability increases progressively. My calcualation of the AL proposals as far as I know them is that they will bring the probability up to about 1 in 450,000 across the whole network, and somewhat higher on Trans Atlantic flights.

We also know (i.e. have measured) that when flight crews are flying on a short term roster plan the probability goes up about 20%.

Etc. Etc. I could go on, and on, and on. The point is that in ANY work setting errors increase with increased worker tiredness, stress and social disruption. In high stakes safety settings such as aviation when working practices are adopted that increase the incidence of such things we are KNOWINGLY trading cost off against safety. But if a plane crashes due to tiredness induced loss of situational awareness we always talk about 'pilot error' and never about 'rostering error'.

I am SLF to the tune of about 200,000km a year. My employees between them add about another couple of million. Of course I am price conscious. But if I become aware of morale or industrial problems in any airline, and especially if I become aware of crewing practices that indicate hull loss probabilities of worse than 1 in 500,000 cycles, I issue instructions not to book that airline until the situation improves. I also let the airline know what I am doing and invite it to let me know when they change their practices for the better.

I am not just being hyper-sensitive to very long odds. Hull losses are just the most dramatic indicator of a whole lot of things. For every hull loss there are many human errors that do not generate a hull loss, but many of which generate such things as flight delays, lost luggage, rudeness, and other forms of discomfort and inconvenience that are an entirely predictable consequence of management decisions. What I think is the smartest thing about the 'Southwest Airlines formula' is that their management practices took these issues into account. I am by no means confident that the other 'low cost' carriers have really got that point. So when I am in the USA I am happy to book SWA (I may be a CEO but I don't give a **** about business class and frequent flyer lounges), but in Europe I am not yet so sure about Easy, Ryan etc.

So, Jongar, you will gather that your argument worries me greatly. It worries me because I know how prevalent it is - and the extent to which desperate airline managers are responding to those signals from the business passenger community. There is also the minor consideration that pilots are human beings who deserve to have a long and happy life just like the rest of us, even though I sometimes find it hard to remember that when I see some of the childish, choleric, self-important and self-obsessed postings in this forum.
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Old 7th Jun 2002, 08:22
  #223 (permalink)  
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Rongotai - may I suggest you consider placing (perhaps a copy of?) that posting in the 'Safety, CRM and QA' forum? There is a lot of relevance in your posting relating to those topics.

Also do not be misled by EVERYTHING you read on pprune. There are a lot of flight crew out there with safety very much in mind.

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Old 7th Jun 2002, 09:48
  #224 (permalink)  
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It Seems to me that it does not matter whether you have 4 crews per plane or 6 crews. What matters is utilisation. How many sectors a day are AL's planes flying and how many of their crews are they using? Are AL's pilots flying 4 to 6 sector days like some of the competition or just 2. AL's problems may well be that their aircraft are in the air too little and their pilots on the ground too much. This has nothing to do with minimum rest, just how productive are the flight crew compared to say BA, bmi or the low cost sector.

I am not trying to be contentious here but business is business and everyone wants to see their assets working for them rather than not being used at all or at least in an inefficient manner.
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Old 7th Jun 2002, 09:52
  #225 (permalink)  
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You sound like a caring and reasonable employer, I was beginning to think they had all disappeared. Your post cheered me up - a bit!


Nearly all flight crew have safety very much in mind, even egotistical and childish ones.
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