The European Cockpit Association has said asking pilots to fly when fatigued is “like handing the car keys to a drunk driver,” after a video emerged of Wizz Air chief executive Jozsef Varadi asking staff “to go the extra mile” when tired.
In a post on social media site Twitter, the association asked the Europan Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to step and ensure safety is maintained.
Wizz Air says that Mr Varadi was addressing all staff and not specifically pilots when he said: “Now that everyone is getting back into work, I understand that fatigue is a potential outcome of the issues but once we are starting stabilising the rosters, we also need to take down the fatigue rate.
“I mean, we cannot run this business when every fifth person of a base reports sickness because the person is fatigued. We are all fatigued but sometimes it is required to take the extra mile.”
Adding: “The damage is huge when we are cancelling the flights, it’s huge. It is reputational damage of the brand and it is the other financial damage, transactional damage because we have to pay compensation for that.”
Deficient safety culture alert!@WizzAir CEO encourages pilots to fly fatigued! It’s like handing the car keys to a drunk driver. @EASA step in! You are WIZZ’ oversight authority… pic.twitter.com/qdJdBVwH90— European Pilots (@eu_cockpit) June 8, 2022
Martin Chalk, general secretary of the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) responded to Mr Varadi saying: “Airlines have just had the worst two financial years on record, but safety must come first no matter what. “No one wants fatigued pilots at the controls: the possible consequences are too devastating”
⚠️“Airlines have just had the worst two financial years on record, but safety must come first no matter what.— BALPA (@BALPApilots) June 9, 2022
“No one wants fatigued pilots at the controls: the possible consequences are too devastating" – BALPA GenSec
Full PR https://t.co/qa3xVrfIAI#airlines #safety #wizzair pic.twitter.com/8R1q4aVt0j
Wizz Air said safety will always be its number one priority.