OTTAWA – CUPE’s Airline Division welcomes Transport Minister Lisa Raitt’s decision to impose the presence, at all times, of two crew members in the flight decks of aircraft in the aftermath of the revelations surrounding the crash of Germanwing’s flight in France.
“Flight attendants are highly-trained safety professionals, and we are absolutely capable of helping to maintain safety in the flight deck whenever one of the pilots must leave,” stated Michel Cournoyer, president of CUPE’s Airline Division.
Despite this, Michel Cournoyer deplores Minister Raitt’s lack of consistency in bending to the will of Canadian airlines by allowing them to reduce the minimum number of flight attendants onboard their planes. “If a flight attendant must be present in the flight deck to ensure the safety of passengers, there should also be a sufficient number of flight attendants in the rest of the airplane when an emergency situation occurs. Sadly, this isn’t the case today, and this problem will be compounded whenever a flight attendant is positioned in the flight deck,” he said.
Transport Canada is presently considering a regulatory change which will allow all airlines in Canada to reduce the number of flight attendants on their planes. Many Canadian airlines have already received exemptions allowing them to use a reduced ratio of one flight attendant per 50 passenger seats.
“On Thursday, Minister Raitt asked her bureaucrats to revise all existing policies and procedures to increase passenger safety. Logically, she should therefore cancel the exemptions which were granted and maintain the ratio of one flight attendant per 40 passengers, a demonstrated safety norm,” concluded Michel Cournoyer.
CUPE represents over 10,000 flight attendants working for Air Canada, Air Transat, Calm Air, Canadian North, Canjet, Cathay Pacific, First Air and Sunwing.
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