Recruit pilots to prevent delays, say pilots at Norwegian

Pilots at the airline Norwegian have stated their belief that a spate of delays and cancellations is the result of poor planning and a lack of pilot recruitment at the airline.

The British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA) says that the group of pilots are predicting further disruption for passengers this summer if busy schedules, demanding rosters and insufficient recruitment is not addressed.

In early July, around 18 Norwegian flights were cancelled abroad and domestically with some passengers left having to make their own alternative arrangements. Pilots dispute the airlines claims that the problems were partly caused by crew sickness, stating that they believe the real problem is a lack of forward planning with not enough pilots being taken on to cover the busy summer months.

Passengers were reportedly stuck at destinations including Malaga, Nice, Split,  Szczecin, Bergen, Oslo, Kristiansand, Stavanger and Molde.

Speaking to NRK, Norwegian’s communications chief Anne-Sissel Skånvik blamed the flight cancellations on a lack of aircraft and pilots. “In addition we had some cases of acute illness (among cabin crew),” Skånvik told NRK. “We’re in a difficult situation.”

The British Airline Pilots’ Association is urging the airline to look at its numbers urgently and ensure rosters and schedules do not lead to pilot fatigue.

BALPA’s General Secretary Brian Strutton said, “Pilots at Norwegian are flying their socks off to ensure the travelling public get to their destinations at one of the busiest times of the year.

“We believe the airline managements have got their numbers wrong when it comes to pilot recruitment.

“BALPA will be speaking to Norwegian to ask them to look at their numbers and to put systems in place to ensure pilots do not become dangerously tired.“

“This is an issue that is affecting a number of airlines as we progress though one of the busiest periods of travel in the year.

“BALPA predicted the problem and has already warned airlines that it needs to be addressed. We will continue to monitor the situation and will be speaking to airlines to ask what’s gone wrong.”

Main picture © David Charles Peacock