Coronavirus: Pilots voice rescue flight safety concerns

Pilots are seeking government assurances over their safety when operating government rescue flights during the coronavirus crisis.

The British Airline Pilots Association is anxious that no clarity has been given as to the financial support promised or the health and safety of the workers involved in the repatriation efforts.

The concern emerged after foreign secretary Dominic Raab revealed a £75 million scheme to repatriate ten of thousands of British travellers stuck overseas.

Airlines including Virgin Atlantic, easyJet, Jet2 and Titan Airways have agreed to assist wit British Airways expected to join the relief efforts.

The government has said that it will allow Britons to travel home using the airlines at “little or no cost” to passengers.

But there is concern about how this will be financed when UK airlines are already on their knees, Balpa said.

The pilots association would also like to see reassurances given on the protective equipment that will be provided to airline staff.

Balpa general secretary Brian Strutton said: “The cost involved in bringing hundreds of thousands of people home will be incredible.

“Our airlines are already struggling to cope financially and the government’s promised financial support is yet to materialise.

“Will the government be covering the cost of bringing people home or is it expecting the airlines to bear the brunt?

“We also need to ensure that all staff involved in the repatriation efforts are provided with protective equipment – the safety of our colleagues is a key priority.

“Yet there has been no discussion or consultation with us to provide this assurance.”

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