Madrid: Pilots' union warned 'chaotic' Spanair passengers were at risk
These kinds of stories always come out a few days after something like this happens.
Apparently, the month before the fatal crash that happened in Madrid on Wednesday, the airline's workers warned their management that the passengers' safety was being put at risk as the airline was being run in a 'chaotic manner'.
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In a series of e-mails to the airline’s management, Sepla, the Spanish pilots' union, said that the airline’s day-to-day operations were “a disaster”. It also said that its fleet of older MD80 series aircraft, of the type that crashed on Wednesday, killing 153, was not being updated quickly enough.
In an April 2007 e-mail to Lars Nygaard, then Spanair chief executive, a union representative warned: “The lack of resources and their quality on the ground, the repeated AOGs [grounded planes] in the fleet, the scarcity of crews and the system of movement of crew members mean that the general feeling is one of operational chaos that places the passengers at risk.”
The next month, the union again wrote to management saying: “The operation continues to be a disaster and is getting worse by the day.”
The airline has not responded to the e-mails that were published in Spain's main newspaper, El Mundo, but they have said previously that they have a great safety record from their 22 years in business.
Aviation analysts said that it would be very difficult for Spanair to survive this crash, because passengers may be unwilling to trust it again. One said: "This is the final nail in Spanair's coffin and may take down SAS as well. It is very hard to survive the reputational damage from a crash like this and most airlines don't."
The company’s management deflected questions on its future this week. “We are firmly focused on supporting the families, “ said Marcus Hedblom, Spanair’s general manager. “The question [of viability] is not really up for discussion at the moment.”