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Cathay Pacific

Read in full: Letter 'exhausted' Cathay Pacific pilots sent to bosses claiming safety is under threat

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 22 September, 2015, 1:06pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 23 September, 2015, 4:52pm

Senior pilots at Cathay Pacific have sent a warning to the airline’s management saying flight safety is under threat with fatigue and exhaustion spreading among aircrew.

The Sunday Morning Post exclusively revealed how the majority of captains have spoken out over several issues including rostering practices, pilot experience levels and fatigue among rank-and-file aircrew.

Read more: Exhausted pilots tell Cathay Pacific their growing workloads are a threat to flight safety

The letter questions whether safety is the airline’s top priority.

Cathay Pacific insists it is. The Hong Kong-based airline has never had an aviation accident resulting in a plane being written off beyond repair. Read its full statement at the bottom of the story.

Pilots say it is not too late to “to change course.”

Read the letter in full:

The Sunday Morning Post received a letter from a Cathay Pacific spokeswoman.

Matters raised in the letter from pilots

We received a letter from a number of our Check and Training Captains in which they expressed some concerns. As part of our standard process we are looking at these concerns and engaging directly with the pilots.

In addition to the informal channels, we have extensive formal communication channels in place, in which all our employees can report safety related matters. These are carefully assessed and responded to. 

Matters which relate to safety are always dealt with in a formal manner and they receive our utmost attention. The safety of passengers and crew is the number one priority of Cathay Pacific. 

Working with the unions 

Our negotiating teams make efforts to work closely with the unions in relation to a number of matters including rostering. 

An agreement with the HKAOA regarding rosters was only terminated on 12 August 2015. This followed 14 months of negotiations where little progress was made. The termination of this agreement has not resulted in any significant operational changes for our pilots.

As part of our additional efforts to work with the union, the agreement termination notice was extended by a further two months. Throughout the notice period we met with the HKAOA several times to discuss rostering practices.

Following termination of the agreement, it has been made clear to the unions that the door is open for further discussions relating to rosters with the view to reaching an agreement. To date there has been no request by the HKAOA to meet to discuss rostering practices.

We do however continue to meet with the HKAOA, and held six days of talks over the months of July and August. The HKAOA did not make any request to discuss rostering practices at these sessions. A further three days is scheduled for early October, and again no request has been made by the HKAOA to discuss rostering practices.

Ensuring safe operations

Our safety record is testament to the high level of professionalism of our more than 3,000 pilots who undergo rigorous training. 

We do have measures in place to manage any issues identified, such as fatigue. These include a Fatigue Risk Management System (FRMS) which works to minimise risk by using preventative measures. The unions form an important part of the FRMS process. 

Further, pilot’s rosters are designed and monitored to ensure fatigue is minimised.

We comply with the requirements of the Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department, including those which govern crew experience levels, operating hours and the number of crew required to operate a flight.