The chief government of Wizz Air is dealing with a backlash from pilot unions after suggesting workers ought to “go the additional mile” to fly when fatigued to assist minimise flight cancellations and disruptions.
In an inside briefing to workers leaked to the web, József Váradi mentioned the corporate wanted to “take down the fatigue price” that has led to workers shortages and cancellations.
“I perceive that fatigue is a possible end result of the problems, however as soon as we’re beginning stabilising the rosters, we additionally must take down the fatigue price,” he mentioned on a video to workers.
Varadi added: “We can’t run this enterprise when each fifth individual on a base stories illness as a result of the individual is fatigued. We’re all fatigued, however generally it’s required to take the additional mile.”
Wizz has been caught up within the barrage of flight cancellations which have hit the European airline trade in current weeks, with many firms affected by an acute staffing scarcity.
The European Cockpit Affiliation, which represents pilots, has written to European security regulators accusing Wizz of “a problematic company security tradition” following the emergence of the video.
“The message of the CEO to his air crew is obvious: to keep away from reputational and industrial harm to the airline, air crew should decrease their fatigue charges by flying fatigued and never calling in sick/fatigued,” the letter mentioned.
“This reinforces our beforehand shared considerations about Wizz Air’s poor company tradition, the place inadmissible stress is exerted on crew to fly on their days off, to increase flight instances beneath ‘commanders’ discretion’ and to chorus from reporting fatigued. Such company behaviour is detrimental to passenger flight security,” the pilots mentioned.
Pilots’ working hours are strictly managed by the EU Aviation Security Company, and the principles embody flight and responsibility time limitations and relaxation necessities.
Wizz Air mentioned that whereas “going the additional mile” had been mentioned, “what this doesn’t imply is compromising security” and that the message was on a briefing to all workers within the firm, not simply pilots.
“Wizz Air and the airline trade are extremely regulated, and security has, and at all times shall be, our first precedence. Now we have a strong and accountable crew administration system,” the airline mentioned.
Varadi’s feedback got here as a French pilots union, the SNPL, wrote to easyJet’s administration to criticise its response to the flight disruption, and accused it of being under-resourced for the summer time.
“With such stress and disruption, the scenario is as unsafe as it may be within the flight deck. Dealing with expertise are again however psychological well being, following an emotional rollercoaster, is at stake,” the SNPL union mentioned.
EasyJet mentioned there was “no deterioration in flight security on account of the present working surroundings”.
“Delivering a secure and dependable operation for our clients and crew is the airline’s highest precedence,” the airline mentioned.
One UK pilot added that easyJet is thought to be having top-of-the-line security cultures within the trade.