Fit to fly

Finweek English Edition - - Letters -

I READ WITH GREAT in­ter­est Chimwemwe Mwanza’s re­port head­lined “Knives out for Khaya” (7 Au­gust). I re­ally do agree with you that SA Air­ways’ man­age­ment isn’t up to any good. We, as the work­ers, feel it ev­ery day. Our morale is at all-time low, be­cause we can see what’s hap­pen­ing around us and yet we can do noth­ing.

My col­leagues and I work in mi­nor main­te­nance at SAA Tech­ni­cal. Our crews used to be 12 strong – one su­per­vi­sor, two se­nior li­censed tech­ni­cians (SLT) and nine tech­ni­cians.

Re­cently, my crew has had NO su­per­vi­sor, one SLT act­ing as su­per­vi­sor, one li­censed tech­ni­cian act­ing as SLT and four un­li­censed tech­ni­cians. Not just my crew but also most of the crews have shrunk to about that size. Yet the work has in­creased. We do SAA’s fleet (50), Mango’s fleet (four), ku­l­’s fleet (about eight), BA’s fleet (about 20), Ibe­ria (four/week) and Namibia (four). As you see, the work­ers get less but the air­craft and work have in­creased.

There’s enor­mous pres­sure on us to get the air­craft out to fly. It’s frus­trat­ing and de­mor­al­is­ing to see your skills and hard work be­ing put into the pock­ets of (in­com­pe­tent, greedy) man­agers as in­cen­tive bonuses and re­ten­tion al­lowances, and yet they can’t make the right choices.

That brings me to a part of your re­port: “…which in turn led to the ex­o­dus of key tech­ni­cal skills – mostly pi­lots…” Since when does a pi­lot count as tech­ni­cal skill? A pi­lot has noth­ing, but noth­ing, to do with any­thing tech­ni­cal on an air­craft. They just get in and fly! ANONY­MOUS

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