LONDON – Following a leaked internal video suggesting that CEO Jozsef Varadi is encouraging pilots to fly fatigued, Wizz Air is insisting that they are not encouraging this action.
The video in question is a short 30-second clip out of a lengthy internal video communication to Wizz Air staff outlining the conditions of the industry.
You can see the video in question via @eu_cockpit on Twitter:
@eu_cockpit on Twitter also called on EASA to step in and investigate these words mentioned by Varadi, but as it is an internal video, we can’t acquire access to the full video for further context.
Wizz Air’s Statement…
AviationSource has approached Wizz Air for a statement on this, insisting that Varadi’s words are reflective of a wider issue in the industry and that he is NOT encouraging pilots to fly fatigued.
“This clip has been edited from a briefing to all staff (not pilots only, but also cabin crew and all office employees) on key business updates and current challenges facing aviation.”
“Supply chain issues are affecting all airlines, in particular staff availability and welfare. Our crew unavailability has been very low, at 4%. In this context, going the extra mile to minimize disruption was discussed.”
“What this does not mean is compromising safety. Wizz Air and the airline industry are highly regulated, and safety has, and always will be our first priority.”
“We have a robust and responsible crew management system which meets the needs of our people and enables us to serve as many customers as possible in the current challenging environment.”
BALPA On The Attack…
BALPA has joined in on this already, and has urged Mr. Varadi to support pilots:
“I would urge Mr. Váradi to swiftly clarify that Wizz Air would fully support any pilot who does the right thing by not flying if they feel fatigued, for the safety of their passengers, crew, and aircraft.”
“I urge him to be as professional as his pilots in seeking to eradicate fatigue from the flight deck.”
Whilst this clip in turn does damage, we would need to see the full 15 minutes in order to make a better assumption from this.
Can Wizz Air Do This?
In the UK, Wizz Air is not allowed to have fatigued pilots fly an aircraft. That goes for EASA too.
As per the UK Air Navigation Order, the following is said regarding this:
“A crew member shall not fly, and an operator shall not require him to fly, if either has reason to believe that he is suffering, or is likely to suffer while flying, from such fatigue as may endanger the safety of the aircraft or of its occupants.”
It’s pretty clear that Wizz Air wouldn’t do this, especially because pilots could openly speak up about this, and refer cases to the UK Civil Aviation Authority, which issues Air Operator Certificates.
Even so, we won’t fully know whether this has been a practice of Wizz Air unless it’s exposed. But what remains clear is that the airline is safe to fly on, having had only one incident since it launched operations back in 2003.
Now, unless pilots come forward publicly, which is unlikely given it would be a breach of contract, this issue will remain only on the basis of a 30-second edited video.