Wizz Air boss tells pilots to stop complaining about being tired

Pilots’ unions have reacted furiously after the boss of a giant budget airline has told flight crew that too many of them are reporting fatigue.

József Váradi, chief executive of Wizz Air, said in an internal video message: “Now that everyone is getting back into work, I understand that fatigue is a potential outcome of the issues.

“But once we are starting stabilising the rosters we also need to take down the fatigue rate.

“I mean we cannot run this business when every fifth person of a base reports sickness because the person is fatigued.

“We are all fatigued. But sometimes it is required to go the extra mile.

“The damage is huge when we are cancelling a flight. It’s huge. It’s reputational damage of the brand and it is the other financial damage, the transactional damage because we have to pay compensation for that.”

The European Cockpit Association, representing 40,000 pilots, tweeted: “Deficient safety culture alert! @WizzAir CEO encourages pilots to fly fatigued!

“It’s like handing the car keys to a drunk driver.”

The Twitter message called for the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (Easa) to step in.

One senior UK aviation figure told The Independent: “I’m shocked. Never seen anything like this.”

The UK Air Navigation Order, as interpreted by the Civil Aviation Authority, says: “A crew member shall not fly, and an operator shall not require him to fly, if either has reason to believe that he is suffering, or is likely to suffer while flying, from such fatigue as may endanger the safety of the aircraft or of its occupants.”

The Independent has asked Wizz Air and the British Airline Pilots’ Association (Balpa) for a response.

Wizz Air, based in Budapest, operates many flights to and from the UK – primarily serving eastern Europe, but with an increasing number of Mediterranean destinations. Its main British hub is Luton airport.


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