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[Bahamas, BPA] Fuel Level Concerns From Pilots

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[Bahamas, BPA] Fuel Level Concerns From Pilots

Unread post by bimjim » Wed Jul 03, 2013

http://www.tribune242.com/news/2013/jul ... ns-pilots/

[Bahamas, BPA] Fuel Level Concerns From Pilots
Wednesday, July 3, 2013

FEARS have been raised over the safety of an airline in the Bahamas by The Bahamian Pilots Alliance.

The BPA spoke out after they said a pilot for Southern Air Charter was suspended and later fired when he refused to operate an aircraft that lacked enough fuel to meet legal requirements.

The organisation, which represents pilots who work for charter airlines at the Lynden Pindling International Airport, issued a press release yesterday making the claim, which comes amid a contract dispute between the BPA and Southern Air.

The BPA said: “Recently, the BPA represented a pilot at the Labour Department who was employed at Southern Air Charter. This pilot had refused to operate a flight that did not have sufficient fuel to meet current legal requirements. The pilot was suspended and then terminated a week later. After meeting with Southern Air’s management team, it became evident to the BPA that, in some instances, Southern Air’s bottom line is more important than safety.”

The BPA said “a few pilots, including a management pilot” had their pilot’s licences suspended after the issue was reported by the union to the Flight Standards Department of the Lynden Pindling International Airport.

“Since then, Southern Air has taken a militant approach towards the BPA and its members,” said the statement, adding: “Most recently, in violation of the Employment Act, all employees, including BPA members, had their fingerprints taken, scanned and saved on a laptop computer by management at Southern Air, without any explanation. The members were intimidated into having their prints taken and did not want to jeopardise their employment.

“Members of the BPA were also given letters and new contract proposal of employment, unilaterally changing the members’ terms of employment nine days after the association presented the companies with its contract proposal in accordance with the Industrial Relations Act, which was ratified by the members. These are blatant intimidation tactics, upon good, decent, honest and hard-working Bahamian pilots, who do their best to operate aircraft in a safe manner and to provide the necessities of life for them and their families,” said the statement.

The union filed a trade dispute with the Labour Department on Monday. The BPA said: “We are hereby appealing to the Minister of Labour, Shane Gibson, and the Minister of Transport and Aviation, Glenys Hanna-Martin to immediately intervene in the interest of the members of the BPA and the travelling public.

“The BPA has been deemed the bargaining agent by Shane Gibson, Minister of Labour and National Insurance, for pilots at Southern Air since August 2012, in accordance with the Industrial Relations Act. The mind-set of not wanting to follow rules and regulations are unacceptable, and dangerous to our members and to the travelling public.”

Two crash landing incidents involving Southern Air have taken place in The Bahamas since 2004. On March 12, 2012, nine passengers were involved in a plane crash in Long Island while on board a Southern Air flight and in October 22, 2004, a Southern Air 19-seater flight was forced to make an emergency landing in the sea off South Beach.

Representatives of Southern Air Charter declined to comment to The Tribune about the matter yesterday and up to press time, no comment was issued although an email of the BPA’s letter was sent to the airline’s public relations officer, Anthony Hamilton, at his request.

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