"The decision of the South African Airways (SAA)
to lower training standards for new pilots is
absurd and holds a danger for passengers and
the airline itself. The FF plus will therefore be
writing to the International Air Transport
Association (IATA) and the International Civil
Aviation Organization (ICAO) to request them to
investigate the proposed plan of the SAA," Adv.
Anton Alberts, the parliamentary spokesperson
on Transport for the FF Plus says.
"The ninth turnaround strategy of the SAA
includes the revision of the training of cadet
pilots. According to this, pilots will need fewer
flight hours and a third pilot will be included in
the cockpit during flights. The calculated costs
for the new training strategy will amount to
R200 million annually in additional costs for
"It is clear that the SAA is lowering its training
standards to make provision for their so-called
developmental objectives. These developmental
objectives which the government is prescribing
to the SAA include the rigorous application of
affirmative action, where senior white pilots are
made available to other airlines to be replaced
with younger less experienced black pilots.
"IATA, with whom the SAA is affiliated and the
ICAO prescribe minimum standards which
should be included in training programmes. The
FF Plus will be asking these two bodies to
intervene to make sure that the new plan of the
SAA meets these standards.
IATA and the ICAO are at present trying to make
the training of pilots more strict. This follows
after IATA found an increasing number of air
crashes where the cause could be ascribe to
human error and not to technical or operational
errors. South Africa is once again finding itself in
a position where it is moving in the opposite
direction than the rest of the world because the
ANC government is implementing its so-called
developmental objectives as policy.
"The government and the SAA’s preoccupation
to replace white pilots with black pilots and in so
doing meet quotas, are costing taxpayers billions
of rand. It is not enough that the SAA has
already lost R16 billion in the past 13 years and
had to be bailed out with taxpayer’s money
repeatedly. The ill-considered application of
affirmative action to meet quotas will cost
taxpayers even more unnecessary funds. This
plan once again proves that theSAA’s affirmative
action program falls outside of the Constitution
and the Employment Equity Act’s intentions. The
SAA is getting rid of one category of workers, i.e.
experienced white pilots to replace them with
another category of workers, unexperienced and
less experienced black pilots.
The SAA is not an employment organization
which government may use to implement its
racial policy of affirmative action under the cloak
of developmental objective. The FF Plus is not
prepared to merely stand by and watch how this
absurd practices threatens the economy and
passengers’ lives and at the same time cost
taxpayers millions of rand," Adv. Anton Alberts.