|Directorate finds no irregularities following union complaints|
The Serbian Civil Aviation Directorate (CAD) has completed an investigation into allegations made by the Independent Union of Serbian Pilots that Air Serbia is overworking its crew, which could potentially put passenger safety at risk. The Directorate found that the carrier’s flight planning methods and crew duty times are in line with national legislation and European Union regulations. “According to the investigation’s findings, Air Serbia uses the AIMS program for crew planning and time keeping”, the Directorate said in a statement. AIMS is a crew planning software which determines the minimum legal flight deck/cabin crew requirements for any given annual or seasonal commercial schedule plan with consideration given to national laws, company regulations and union agreements. The CAD says its findings are based on random checks carried out throughout May and adds it will undertake another investigation in the coming period.
Air Serbia welcomed the CAD’s findings and rejected the union’s claims as baseless. “This inspection shows that pilot duty times, as well as the time they spend on board, are truly and without exception in line with national legislation and European Union regulations. On the other hand, these findings are in stark contrast to claims made by the President of the Union of Independent Pilots of Serbia, lawyer Nenad Vojnović”, the carrier says. It adds, “These allegations bring into question the standard of passenger and employee safety enforced at Air Serbia without grounds, making these accusations very serious”.
Last week, the union stated that Air Serbia’s pilots sometime have to fly two nights in a row and then have to work the following day as well. In a press release, the union said that, for example, a pilot that lands on Tuesday at 06.00, could have his/her next departure at 23.00 that same day. As a result, their rotation would end at 04.00 on Wednesday. The union warns that some pilots are then rostered on to work on Thursday morning as well. It identified flights operated by Air Serbia on behalf of Etihad Airways between Abu Dhabi and Muscat, which ran until the beginning of June, as one of the best examples of this practice. “This kind of planning, despite the fact that there are a sufficient number of pilots, may endanger air traffic safety”, the union said. It also noted that duty times among pilots are not evenly spread out and that the company no longer provides transport for its pilots, who must either come to the airport using their own mode of transportation or by public transport. The union has furthermore called for the implementation of a Fatigue Risk Management System at the airline. The union has not responded to the CAD’s findings but previously said it has been unable to schedule a meeting with Air Serbia’s management to discuss these issues in over a year.