Passengers’ safety at risk says Ansett pilot

An Ansett pilot has accused the airline of overworking staff and placing the safety of passengers in danger as a result. Claims made in a nine-page letter, written by an Ansett pilot still employed with the airline, reveal that problems with staff morale, incident reporting, fatigue, crew rostering, maintenance, customer service, safety and union award breaches were daily occurrences for the airline. The author of the letter also claims that in one 61-hour period, he was required to work for 51 hours with only 10 hours sleep. The claims follow a string of aircraft problems for Ansett beginning with the Christmas grounding of the airlines' Boeing 767 planes last year and culminating, most recently this week, when a plane destined for Melbourne was forced to return to Sydney after passengers reported seeing flames coming from the back of the plane's right engine.

Ansett has confirmed receiving the controversial letter, sent in November last year, and said it was currently addressing the problems mentioned.

‘Ansett pilot fires salvo on safety' The Sydney Morning Herald, 14/03/01, p 6.