Turkey: Overtime work threatens flight safety in Turkey leading potential air crashes

“Airworthiness gets into danger due to overtime work in Turkey and this situation might cause deadly air crashes”, Airline Employees’ Union said.

The Chairman of Airline Employees’ Union (HAVA-SEN) İskender Çarkçı, a 25-year pilot in command of Turkish Airlines (THY), stated in a national television channel that rights granted to airline employees with collective bargaining agreement have been removed and flight safety has fallen into danger due to overtime works that have become obligatory for flight crew members.

Pointing out that bad working conditions in aviation and air transport industry jeopardize airworthiness paving way for severe air crashes, Çarkçı said, “An employee, who worked for 6 days, had to rest on the 7th day. Yet then, the General Directorate of Civil Aviation issued a new directive. This directive has granted the airline companies right to give employees 144 hours of overtime, which corresponds to 12 working days, meaning that we are obliged to work for 12 days without ceasing.”

Underlining that airline employees inevitably collapse both physically and mentally under these working conditions, Çarkçı noted, “This physical and mental exhaustion reaches a boiling point for employees. Some of them faint during the flight, while some have a nervous breakdown because of fatigue.”

“All these factors pave the way for the violation of flight safety in the end. Could you think of a pilot fallen asleep as s/he is on the final approach? S/he is about landing, but still nodding off…”

In 2013, Turkish Airlines employees had gone on strike due to bad working conditions for airlines workers.