Two Pilots Dismissed Following on Board Argument


Captain Stephen Bird and First Officer Stephen Akers were dismissed by Flybe after arguing whilst flying the plane to Malaga, Spain.

A tribunal has ruled that their dismissal was in fact fair.

Captain Bird maintained that the two were not arguing and that they were just 'having some banter'. He said it would have been clear to a passer by the comments he made were in jest. In addition, he said that he apologised to his co worker after the flight just in case. However, there was also further evidence that Captain Bird had ignored the safety comments made by his co worker to avoid the bad weather when they encountered turbulence. In fact, there was so much upset caused between the two that Mr Akers refused to shake Captain Bird's hand at the end of the flight as is customary. He had called Captain Bird a control freak and swore at him following his actions during the flight.

Flybe led an internal inquiry into the matter and asserted that Captain Bird had not acted as a captain should have. "He chose to engage in the argument with Mr Akers which exacerbated the situation" said Captain Stan Wood who led the inquiry. He added that any sort of breakdown of communication can be unsafe. Captain Bird swearing at Mr Akers had caused such a breakdown and Mr Alker should have requested a different pilot for the return flight. His decision not to do so could have jeopardised the lives of others.

In his defence, Captain Bird said that grounding the flight to find an alternative pilot would have been an extreme practice for such "a relatively minor altercation". Despite his opinion, however, the Employment Judge explained that it was by unanimous judgement that the dismissal were fair. Captain Bird is yet to find alternative employment.