Updates to our Terms of Use

We are updating our Terms of Use. Please carefully review the updated Terms before proceeding to our website.

Thursday, May 23, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Leaked memo says rusty Qantas pilots making errors: report

Pilots experiencing "lost situational awareness" shows that it's not just the average public experiencing post-lockdown jitters.

SYDNEY (AFP) — Some Qantas pilots are making mistakes as they return from long breaks caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, according to an internal memo reported by Australian media on Wednesday.

Among the errors listed in Qantas pilot reports: starting take-off with the parking brake on and misreading the altitude as airspeed, said a report by the Sydney Morning Herald and Melbourne's Age.

It also cited switches in cockpit panels being in the wrong position, and crew looking back at an event and "not realizing that they were overloaded or had lost situational awareness."

The memo by Qantas' fleet operations chiefs reportedly said the Covid-19 related disruption to flights meant pilots had less recent flight experience, a requirement known as "recency."

As a result, the memo is quoted as saying, expert pilots "experienced a subsequent reduction in cognitive capacity."

"Airlines around the world are working through the complex process of returning to pre-Covid operations, including bringing back pilots who experienced extended periods on the ground," a Qantas spokeswoman said.

Qantas recognized very early that it needed to reassess pilots' recent and current flight time requirements as well as its "refamiliarization programs," she said.

"We designed an enhanced return-to-work program fit for the unprecedented challenge facing our industry," the spokeswoman added.

"Safety is our number one priority and all of the data shows that our pilots are coming back with the skills and confidence to do their job safely."

© Agence France-Presse

Categories / Business, International, Technology

Subscribe to Closing Arguments

Sign up for new weekly newsletter Closing Arguments to get the latest about ongoing trials, major litigation and hot cases and rulings in courthouses around the U.S. and the world.