‘Toughen up princesses’, pilots told
Sydney - Australian pilots on Friday raised concerns about how airline Jetstar dealt with complaints about fatigue after an email tabled in a Senate inquiry revealed some crew were told to "toughen up princesses".
The email was written by an unnamed pilot based in Perth and targeted at colleagues who were complaining about a long-haul schedule.
"Toughen up princesses," it said. "You aren't fatigued, you are tired and can't be bothered going to work."
Jetstar, the budget offshoot of Australian national carrier Qantas, described the exchange as "banter" between about 20 staff.
"People use colourful language to get across their message. As I said, it doesn't represent the views of management," Jetstar chief executive Bruce Buchanan said.
But the Australian and International Pilots Association said the email was issued in response to a serious complaint from a pilot who said he felt tired and unable to function at his best when flying the Singapore-Denpasar-Perth-Melbourne-Perth route.
"Fatigue is a very serious issue which deserves to be treated seriously," association vice president Captain Richard Woodward said in a statement.
"The public's concern here is about a culture in which those who speak out about safety are treated with hostility. If Mr Buchanan wants to remedy this, he's setting a pretty poor example from the top."
The email was tabled during an inquiry into pilot training and airline safety which also heard that Jetstar pilots were working fewer hours than the maximum allowed so that the company could manage fatigue among cabin crew.