The Daily Telegraph
Landing notice in Welsh ‘could overload pilots’
FLIGHT safety is being risked because pilots landing in Wales have to use the native tongue, it is claimed.
A Notice to Airmen (Notam), to last until the end of the month, demands a 143word Covid announcement in English, Welsh and an officially recognised language of the departure country.
Critics claim it is the latest “overload” of notices pilots have to digest which could distract them from other crucial safety information.
A pilot is expected to absorb around 100 pages of Notam before a long-haul flight, but the most critical details would only fill three, said Mark Zee, a former pilot and air traffic controller.
There is “no prioritisation” within the briefing to single out the most important information, meaning it can be lost in a sea of irrelevant points, he claimed.
An Air Canada flight narrowly avoided catastrophe in 2017 when pilots missed a notice saying the runway in San Francisco was closed – on page eight of 27 pages.
It led the International Civil Aviation Organisation to call for a “reduction” in the number of Notams.
Simon Calder, the travel writer, said the Welsh announcement was just “more guff for airmen and women to wade through”.
He said the burden of communicating these notices should fall to airline managers, rather than pilots.
Bethan Sayed, a Plaid Cymru member of the Welsh Parliament, said: “I thought you were well travelled? If so you’d know that different languages are spoken the world over. Would you say this if travelling to Frenchspeaking Quebec?”
Yes Cymru said: “Thought the point of travelling was to have different experiences. That includes languages.”
But aviation experts agreed the Welsh announcement reflected the broader problem of excessive notices for pilots. Mr Zee said: “This is one of those thousands of Notams that are very by the way and don’t have an operational impact on the aircraft.”
David Kaminski-morrow, air transport editor of Flightglobal, added: “While I don’t think complying with the (Welsh language) Notam constitutes a flight hazard – it could be spoken or read off a card after the aircraft stops – I’d suggest this is a prime example of Notam clutter.”