Flydubai has long pushed the boundaries of sensible operating policy, a pilot purporting to work for the airline told RT. He says it encourages not reporting illness or fatigue, as was allegedly also the case with the crashed flight’s Alejandro Alava.
After the crash of low-cost carrier Flydubai’s flight FZ981 in Rostov-on-Don last week, a former pilot blew the whistle in an interview with RT on how the company allegedly pushes its employees to work hectic and long rosters, ignoring complaints that this puts lives in danger. That report has now been corroborated by a person who claims to be a current Flydubai pilot.
“If anything, since [the original whistleblower to RT] left, things got worse,” the pilot, who asked not to be named because he fears reprisals f-rom his current employer, told RT. “The pressure applied to pilots by the management is tremendous.”
‘I’ll fly because we need the money’
The pilot, who says he has been with the company for years, said the payment scheme that Flydubai uses puts pressure on crew members not to call in sick. A pilot who chooses not to fly because of sickness or fatigue, which is a sensible thing to do, would lose a lot of money and may get into a really tight spot in Dubai, whe-re the cost of living is very high, he explained.
“People fly when they are unfit because of sickness, sadly. And they also fly with the fatigue,” he said. “Everyone has a family, everyone has children and wife and mortgages they have to pay. So financial pressure is personal pressure.”
This pressure was allegedly in place when FZ981 First Officer Alejandro Alava decided that he would be on the ill-fated flight.
“I know for a fact f-rom a close friend of [Alava’s] wife that he didn’t want to go to work because he was tired. But he said ‘I have to go to work because we are having twins, we are going to need the money,’”the pilot said.
Pilot fatigue may be a contributing factor in a serious incident. This is especially true for flights to destinations, whe-re ground services are not up to high standards in place in North America or Europe, the claimed pilot noticed, adding that Flydubai flies to such destinations.
“Flydubai flies to war zones, to Afghanistan. We fly to parts of Africa that have semi-controlled environments… This adds an additional risk. And when you have a tired pilot who is meant to make quick and accurate decisions, you are asking for trouble. Flydubai has been pushing the boundaries of sensible operations for a long-long time,” he said.