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Low-budget airlines are becoming increasingly popular across the world, and in Australia Jetstar and VirginBlue are the widest used budget airlines.
But a new Senate inquiry has brought to light a disturbing case of a pilot for Jetstar feeling bullied and harassed when expressing concerns about current flight routes. The route in question is the Singapore-Denpassar-Perth-Melbourne-Perth route.
A pilot emailed a fellow pilot complaining of extreme fatigue and expressing concerns about decreased abilities after flying the long route. His email in response instructed he, and all other pilots flying the route, to ‘toughen up, princess’.
The Australian and International Pilots Association (AIPA) has spoken out in condemnation of Jetstar’s handling of the pilots complaint. AIPA Vice President Captain Richard Woodward said that he found the response to the email by Jetstar Boss Bruce Buchanan worrying and showing no real concern for the public.
“I would strongly urge Mr Buchanan and his management team to start playing the ball and not the man. Fatigue is a very serious issue which deserves to be treated seriously,
The public’s concern here is about a culture in which those who speak out about safety are treated with hostility,” Captain Woodward said.
Mr Buchanan has been giving evidence at the Senate inquiry looking into Jetstar’s practices. He said that Jetstar is extremely passionate about safety and they fully support the senate inquiry.
When speaking directly about the email in question Mr Buchanan said “It was an email from one line pilot – a pilot actually employed under the EBA, not a part of the senior management team, or a pilot on a management contract. And this was a comment from one pilot to another pilot.
“It doesn’t represent the views of Jetstar…I think (this) is another example of misinformation and misrepresentation of the very good safety culture and practices in place at Jetstar.”
He went on to state that there are a variety of formal processes in place, both internal and external, that are set up to investigate any reports of fatigue in pilots