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Ezy cancel flights due to crew shortage

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Ezy cancel flights due to crew shortage

Old 16th Aug 2002, 15:19
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Question Overtarding or Rostering problems ?

There appear to be two problems combined here. The Rostering problem is understandable, but the more recent vague admission of possible Overtrading is harder to understand.

Can anybody inform me of whether or not the Overtrading one would come under Governance or conditons of issue of AOC.
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Old 16th Aug 2002, 20:10
  #122 (permalink)  
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I don't believe that the problem is that expansion has occurred too rapidly. The problem is that with the expansion that has taken place, there is not enough Pilots, Cabin crew, Engineeers, Despatchers, Baggage Handlers and Ground Staff. A decision was made to intoduce a new rostering method which has failed dramatically. The people responsible for the poor management must be accountable, it is very simple!
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Old 17th Aug 2002, 02:53
  #123 (permalink)  
Son Of Piltdown
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EasyJet whips up a storm in the cockpit
By Andrea Felsted
Published: August 16 2002 21:29 | Last Updated: August 16 2002 21:29

Thunder, lightning and torrential rain have wreaked havoc with European air travel this summer, shutting airports and closing air traffic control towers.

But another storm, centring on service and safety standards at the low-cost airlines, is raging across European skies. And the introduction of a new flight-crew rostering system at Ea syJet, leading to severe delays and cancelled flights, put the budget airline firmly in its path.

A leaked letter to pilots, in which Vilhelm Hahn-Petersen, EasyJet's operations director, admitted that the group's rapid expansion had stretched the airline to its limits, immediatel y fed into growing concerns about the low-cost airlines. Do they put profit before customer service and safety? Do they take risks in the aggressive pursuit of profit?

Ray Webster, chief executive of EasyJet, says nothing could be further from the truth.

"Low cost does not come from operations at all. It comes from using the aeroplanes more efficiently, efficiencies in the way we sell seats, what we provide on board. There are no shor t cuts in maintenance, flying or training. That will never be compromised."

He says safety is the priority, followed by customer service. "Safety comes ahead of financial performance every time. You have got to be safe first, look after customers, and financi al performance is what comes out."

But the British Air Line Pilots' Association, Britain's pilots union, says pilots at low-cost airlines are worried about being overstretched.

Cancelled flights have also led to questions about that customer service. About 10,000 people will be affected by EasyJet taking five flights a day out of its schedule from Monday.

Mr Webster says pilots have raised concerns about the new rostering system but they have not questioned safety standards. If they had, this would be taken very seriously.

He adds that commercial pressures are never put on crew or technical staff who decide whether or not an aircraft can fly. There are two teams, a technical team that looks at whether aircraft can fly, and a commercial team that decides on contingency arrangements, and the decisions of the technical team are never questioned.

Mr Webster strongly rejects any suggestion that safety was jeopardised by the introduction of the new roster system.

"At no time has safety been compromised. We will ground the airline, we will disadvantage passengers before we take any risk on safety," he says.

He admits that punctuality has suffered. Although EasyJet is meeting most of its targets for flight departure times, it is still missing the goal of having all flights leave within 1 5 minutes of their scheduled time. Passengers delayed for more than four hours receive a refund and fly for free.

But he says customers are being inconvenienced "at the margin", and that the flights being removed are those where Go's services duplicate EasyJet's.

Mr Webster rejects concerns that recent problems have been caused by over-expansion, or management taking its eye off the ball. He says that as chief executive he is ultimately respo nsible for the decision to implement the new rosters.

He defends the decision to try to find a new way of rostering EasyJet's flight crew, to cope with the route network expansion and generate efficiencies, but also to improve the workin g conditions of staff.

However, he admits that the new system, which used a computer modelling tool common in the industry, should have been better tested, to make it could cope with practical problems.

But he also points out that this summer, EasyJet has experienced a high level of disruption from factors outside its control, such as air traffic control problems, extreme weather an d building work at Luton Airport.

The system has now been abandoned. EasyJet will return to its previous processes in September. An action team formed a couple of weeks ago meets twice a day, and EasyJet's rostering t eam will be joined by Go's. They will be complemented by rostering specialists.

As well as removing five flights a day from its schedule, it is sub-chartering an additional aircraft.

"We may have been able to fix it by tweaking," says Mr Webster, "but we don't experiment with the total business".

The problems have come at a delicate time for EasyJet, which two weeks ago completed the acquisition of Go. They have raised doubts about the time-frame it has set for the integratio n, although Mr Webster says he has been assured by management it can be achieved.

EasyJet is also trying to reach agreement with its pilots, following recognition of Balpa at the end of last year. The target date for an agreement had been April 1 this year. EasyJet plans to use Go's agreement with Balpa as a starting point for fresh negotiations.

A meeting took place this week with EasyJet's pilots council to start the process. Discussions with Balpa will follow.

Given the complex issues EasyJet is grappling with, it is unlikely to leave the storm clouds behind just yet.
Old 17th Aug 2002, 08:28
  #124 (permalink)  
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So does the Chief Executive not understand that rostering and Flight Safety are related?
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Old 17th Aug 2002, 09:03
  #125 (permalink)  
Son Of Piltdown
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Perhaps he subscribes to the daft notion that if it is a legal roster it is a safe roster?

But then . . . He doesn't work such rosters nor does he take direct responsibility for all those lives.

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