Qantas pilots quarrel, flight delayed 18 hours, carrier’s image suffers

Photo: Getty Images

AN argument between two Qantas pilots led to an 18-hour delay at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (Texas, USA) of a flight destined for Sydney via Brisbane (Australia). Apparently, the quarrel was over input into the flight computer of take-off calculations.

Passengers on board the flight had called it “a flight of hell” and “a comedy of errors”. At one point, they were allegedly told the pilots were “too busy to talk to them”. 

Qantas, which attributed the delay to bad weather and a case of the pilots running up against their 20-hour duty limit. Ah well, sceptical passengers might ask, had it not been for the angry argument between the captain and a second officer…? And might as well, since according to an unnamed Australian aviation officer who tells AP, the cockpit row “got to a point where the two of them didn’t feel they could work together.”

Qantas has suspended the pilots.

The incident has certainly dealt another blow to the reputation of the Australian flag carrier, which only very recently suspended another pilot on suspicion of having been drinking before a flight, as it struggles to repair a broken image from a strike last year that resulted in a series of flight disruptions. Customers are less likely to take kindly to such incidents that cause flight delays, almost laughable as reported but not funny.

Will there now be an issue of compensation for the inconvenience caused to passengers accepted for travel on the flight in question?



About David Leo
David Leo has more than 30 years of aviation experience, having served in senior management in one of the world's best airlines and airports. He continues to maintain a keen interest in the business, writes freelance and provides consultancy services in the field.

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