The Virgin Independents Pilots Association (VIPA) has “expressed concern” about the effectiveness of the two crew flight procedures introduced by Australia’s Federal government in the aftermath of the Germanwings plane crash.
Whilst “not directly opposed” to the new policy, VIPA said the regulation has been adopted but lacked a “more considered and timely consultation” process with the industry at large.
According to the association’s executive director, Simon O’Hara, the government should have primarily undertaken a more “exhaustive process” to include the findings of the Germanwings incident, before introducing new policies.
“VIPA believes it is premature to be introducing major changes without fully consulting with VIPA and wider industry as there are many considerations which need to be taken into account,” O’Hara said.
“These include the effect on fatigue and stress by further restricting the movement of pilots in an already hostile working environment and the possible issues associated with having a technically untrained flight attendant monitoring the cockpit,”
“In our opinion, the rule of two policy also sends out the wrong message to the public that pilots can no longer be trusted as a result of the Germanwings tragedy and they should be monitored by a second crew member on the flight deck at all times.
“Whilst it is important to allay the fears of the traveling public, a statement of impending change and a more consultative approach that included issues of employee health and wellbeing may have better served all involved.”
O’Hara late last week called upon the government to hold a roundtable with CASA, the ATSB, VIPA and other pilot unions, as part of a consultative review of flight deck safety and pilot welfare.
“Whilst we clearly represent a professional body within a highly competitive environment we would like to also promote the ongoing public discussion and awareness of mental health and the way we manage it as a society,” O’Hara said.
“Mental health issues are widely accepted as commonplace and treatable in the general community, provided the correct support mechanisms are in place. The government and industry stakeholders should work together to develop these mechanisms and ensuring better pilot welfare outcomes across the industry.”