Paris: French pilots have claimed easyJet is risking passenger and crew safety by scheduling too many flights, according to a report by the Guardian.
Captains are being pressed into flying more hours than they are legally allowed and face intimidation if they refuse, France’s pilots’ union said.
In an open letter to the company’s main shareholder, Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, the union said the flight schedule is unrealistic and had caused numerous delays and last-minute cancellations.
“A red line has been crossed and we are very shocked,” said Arnaud Wiplier, the president of the easyJet section of the Syndicat National des Pilotes de Ligne (SNPL). “The airline has eyes bigger than its stomach; the schedules are not possible.”
Wiplier told Le Figaro newspaper that easyJet had scheduled far too many flights during the summer, especially at weekends, when the chances of cancellation are eight times higher.
“Summer is very busy and it doesn’t work,” he said. “If a plane has to do six flights a day, the last flight will have a long delay or be cancelled.”
EasyJet, which carries about 17 million passengers a year in France, categorically rejected the pilots’ criticism and said it was “surprised by their action”. The airline said it made no compromises on safety and was structured to manage a normal level of disruption in high season.
A spokesman for easyJet said the dispute had been resolved after talks. “We have resolved the issues with the SNPL pilot union in France and we will continue to work closely with them,” he said.
In a statement issued on Tuesday evening, Nicolas Frick, the vice-president of the SNPL union for easyJet, said progress had been made.