Pilot takes employers to employment tribunal after dismissal threat for refusing to fly whilst fatigued
A Thomas Cook airline captain who took his employers to an employment tribunal, has won his case and accepted an apology from the company.
Captain Mike Simkins, who’s from the UK, was suspended for six months by Thomas Cook Airlines and threatened with dismissal for refusing to fly the Boeing 767 due to fatigue.
Mr Simkins took the company to an employment tribunal after being threatened with dismissal and won his case.
Mr Simkins is a member of the British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA), who said that Mr Simkins refused to fly “after three extremely early starts in a row, including one 18-hour day, and what would have been a 19-hour day to follow.”
BALPA said that Thomas Cook’s fatigue monitoring system revealed that due to the number of duties Mr Simkins had already carried out, if he had taken the flight he refused, he would have landed and his performance loss would have been estimated to being something similiar to that of a person four times over the legal alcohol flying limit.
Head of flight safety for BALPA, Rob Hunter, said: “Not only is it reasonable to refuse to fly when fatigued, it is absolutely necessary.”
It is against the law for a pilot to operate an aeroplane whilst suffering from fatigue, or feels that they may become fatigued.
According to Mr Hunter, Captain Simkins ought to have been applauded by Thomas Cook for informing them of his fatigue, rather than disciplined.
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