CNN's on-air flight instructor Mitchell Casado is sacked from regular job

Pilot who featured in CNN's coverage of search for missing passenger jet loses his regular job

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 17 April, 2014, 10:49pm
UPDATED : Friday, 18 April, 2014, 6:22pm


A Canadian flight-simulator business fired an instructor who figured prominently in CNN's coverage of missing Malaysia Airlines flight 370, saying he showed up late to his regular job and "shamed Canadians" by dressing like a teenager.

uFly company owner Claudio Teixeira said he fired Mitchell Casado on Wednesday in part for refusing to dress professionally and making Canadians "look very bad all over the world".

Casado's relaxed style of jeans and check shirts attracted wide attention during CNN's constant coverage of the search for the missing flight. CNN's Martin Savidge and Casado logged many hours reporting from the fake cockpit located at the company's office near the Toronto airport, which has a simulator of the same model as the lost plane.

Teixeira said Casado did not come to work on Tuesday when customers had the simulator booked. "This is not the first time. He's been warned before," he said.

Teixeira says he received many e-mail complaints about the instructor's way of dressing during his time on CNN.

"Even though I let him be on TV he shamed us Canadians and shamed my company with the way he was dressing like he was 15 years old," he said. "People were complaining that it wasn't professional at all ... If you go to any plane you don't see them in shorts and sandals."

Casado declined to comment to a reporter, saying: "I'm not interested in talking to you."

In a tweet earlier, he wrote: "My boss had me training a new guy the last few days, and now that he can do my job, and CNN left, he fired me. That's uFly."

CNN spokeswoman Bridget Leininger said the network would not broadcast from the simulator yesterday but may do so later.

Savidge and Casado spent 12-to18-hour days in the cockpit, using the machine to simulate what might happen under certain scenarios. They logged so much airtime in the fake cockpit that the hashtag #freemartinsavidge appeared on Twitter.

Although CNN has been criticised for its blanket coverage, its viewership rose 84 per cent last month, the Nielsen ratings company said.

Teixeira called Casado a nice guy and wished him luck but said a change had to be made. "I am the boss. I am the owner. I put in the money. It has to be my rules. If you don't agree with them you have to find another job," he said.