[photopress:air_cockpit_1.jpg,full,alignright]China Eastern Airlines saw its share price sink 6.8% after the Civil Aviation Administration announced it was fining the company for an incident in which its pilots intentionally disrupted flights, inconveniencing hundreds of passengers.
‘This incident exposed existing weaknesses in our management and taught us a deep lesson,’ the airline said in a statement released after the aviation regulator announced it was fining the company RMB1.5 million ($214,300) for the disruptions.
The Shanghai-based airline earlier said that 21 flights on March 31 in southwestern China’s Yunnan province were intentionally disrupted by pilots who either turned back midway through their flights or landed them and then took off again without letting passengers disembark.
The pilots were reportedly disgruntled over contract and work conditions in a country that bans unauthorized labor organizing.
Aviation regulators announced the fine, and the suspension of some of China Eastern’s flights in Yunnan, after an investigation.
Having been involved in this sort of nonsense in another country the writer has a comment to make. Pilots wrongly are treated as if they, and they alone, manage the aircraft.
This should not be the case.
It is an essential that the management of the aircraft be a team effort – the second pilot is not just along for the ride – and this is now being reflected in the way the flight simulators are set up.
The pilot is God ethos has to change.
The next point is that there just are not enough pilots so they see themselves in a special bargaining position. The answer is more and more simulators and more and more pilots. Flying a modern plane is not a great skill and an unflappable manner is of greater value than a high intelligence.
The use of the term ‘captain’ should be abandoned. They are the pilot of the plane in the same way as a bus driver is the driver of a bus and elevating them to semi-God status always brings trouble. As Qantas in Australia found to its cost. And eventually to the deep distress of a large number of pilots. Who are no longer captains.
Source: Associated Press