Wednesday, 1 April 2015 - 13:55
KLM wants fewer pilots on some long-haul flights
KLM wants to use three pilots on long flights instead of four. This will include flights to Kuala Lumpur, Cape Town and Seoul, among others, the Volkskrant reports. KLM spokesperson Klaas-Jeroen Terwal informed pilots' union VNV of this plan. KLM currently has two pilots on board for flights within Europe, three pilots for flights longer than 8.5 hours and four pilots for flights longer than 12 hours. The reduced number of pilots may apply to various flights to the east, as they are seen as "less burdensome" than flights to the west, according to Terwal. The flight to Cape Town is also a possibility, as it is a long flight and there is not much time difference between the Netherlands and South Africa. This proposed reduction of pilots is a small part of the major cutbacks of 750 million euros KLM wants to make in the next five years. Among other things, KLM is also considering a 10 percent wage cut, adjustment to the retirement age and a reduction to rest periods. According to the Volkskrant, some travel and aviation specialists think that KLM had terrible timing in announcing this plan, given the discussion that arose on safety on board aircraft after the crash of the Germanwings plane last week. But Terwal claims that this plan has been in the making long before the flight was deliberately crashed by the German pilot. Transport psychologist Karel Brookhuis calls the timing "awkward" and thinks that the reduction of pilots could have a negative effect on passengers' perception of safety. KLM can only make this change if the unions agree and they still meet the minimum safety requirements, such as the presence of two people in the cockpit.