Travel

Airlines have 'toxic culture' and excessive workloads, causing safety concerns, says Emirates pilot

Business Insider US
An ongoing pilot shortage has led to disruptions for many airlines.
An ongoing pilot shortage has led to disruptions for many airlines.
Taylor Rains/Insider
  • An Emirates pilot told CNBC that the profession had a toxic culture and excessive workloads.
  • "That all adds up to potentially reducing the safety margin," the pilot said. 
  • Several more pilots interviewed by CNBC said the issue of pilot fatigue was often ignored. 
  • For more stories, go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

An Emirates pilot told CNBC that heavy workloads and toxic cultures were leading to safety concerns.

Speaking anonymously, an Emirates pilot told the outlet many pilots were suffering from "an inordinate amount of work" and "a fairly toxic culture."

They told CNBC that these issues could result in "reducing the safety margin," which is "a big concern." 

The pilot added that the aviation industry was suffering from a "toxic soup" of poor pay and less attractive contracts for pilots.

"The airports and the airlines share an equal level of blame. It's been a race to the bottom for years," they said. "They're only going to ever try and pay as little as they can get away with paying."

Emirates did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment made outside of normal working hours.

Several pilots working for major airlines spoke to CNBC anonymously about fatigue resulting from overwork, airlines' attempts to cut operating costs, and toxic work cultures. 

All the pilots interviewed by CNBC said the issue of pilot fatigue was often ignored by airlines. 

An Easyjet pilot interviewed by the news outlet said the legal maximum limit of working hours, which is 900 hours per year, was seen as a target rather than a limit.

"That wasn't seen as the absolute maximum, it was seen as the target to try and make everybody's workload as efficient as possible," the easyJet pilot said.

EasyJet did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment made outside of normal working hours.

Many airlines are suffering from a shortage of pilots, which is contributing to a summer of travel disruptions. 

Last month, the CEO of Wizz Air, József Váradi, faced criticism for appearing to suggest pilots should fly while fatigued, a major safety concern. Váradi said pilots should "take the extra mile" to help stabilise flight schedules, Insider reported. 

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