SAA not an employment organization for unqualified quota pilots

Adv Anton Alberts

“The decision of the South African Airways (SAA) to lower training standards for new pilots is absurd and holds a danger for passengers and the airline itself. The FF plus will therefore be writing to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to request them to investigate the proposed plan of the SAA,” Adv. Anton Alberts, the parliamentary spokesperson on Transport for the FF Plus says.

“The ninth turnaround strategy of the SAA includes the revision of the training of cadet pilots. According to this, pilots will need fewer flight hours and a third pilot will be included in the cockpit during flights. The calculated costs for the new training strategy will amount to R200 million annually in additional costs for taxpayers.

“It is clear that the SAA is lowering its training standards to make provision for their so-called developmental objectives. These developmental objectives which the government is prescribing to the SAA include the rigorous application of affirmative action, where senior white pilots are made available to other airlines to be replaced with younger less experienced black pilots.

“IATA, with whom the SAA is affiliated and the ICAO prescribe minimum standards which should be included in training programmes. The FF Plus will be asking these two bodies to intervene to make sure that the new plan of the SAA meets these standards.

IATA and the ICAO are at present trying to make the training of pilots more strict. This follows after IATA found an increasing number of air crashes where the cause could be ascribe to human error and not to technical or operational errors. South Africa is once again finding itself in a position where it is moving in the opposite direction than the rest of the world because the ANC government is implementing its so-called developmental objectives as policy.

“The government and the SAA’s preoccupation to replace white pilots with black pilots and in so doing meet quotas, are costing taxpayers billions of rand. It is not enough that the SAA has already lost R16 billion in the past 13 years and had to be bailed out with taxpayer’s money repeatedly. The ill-considered application of affirmative action to meet quotas will cost taxpayers even more unnecessary funds. This plan once again proves that theSAA’s affirmative action program falls outside of the Constitution and the Employment Equity Act’s intentions. The SAA is getting rid of one category of workers, i.e. experienced white pilots to replace them with another category of workers, unexperienced and less experienced black pilots.

The SAA is not an employment organization which government may use to implement its racial policy of affirmative action under the cloak of developmental objective. The FF Plus is not prepared to merely stand by and watch how this absurd practices threatens the economy and passengers’ lives and at the same time cost taxpayers millions of rand,” Adv. Anton Alberts.


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