Saturday, January 19, 2008

BALPA statement on the British Airways accident at Heathrow

BALPA logoThe British Air Line Pilots Association (BALPA) issued an official statement in support of the flight deck crew of BA Flight 038, the British Airways Boeing 777 that crash landed at London's Heathrow International Airport on January 17.

In the statement, Jim McAuslan, BALPA's General Secretary, said:
‘Captain Peter Burkill and his First Officer John Coward are ordinary people who did an extraordinary thing. Air transport remains the safest form of transport, by a long way, but accidents do happen and the text book way in which this was handled by the pilots and the cabin crew is a testament to the professionalism of all involved.

‘The BALPA web forum has been inundated overnight with compliments from their fellow professionals. The vast majority of pilots will go through their whole career without experiencing the events of BA038, but all of them are trained to cope with the possibility. This training includes frequent simulator checks in which pilots rehearse how to calmly deal with the completely unexpected.

‘The pilots and BALPA will be co-operating fully with the Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) enquiries. Until we have their interim report it is inappropriate to comment on the cause of the accident; and history teaches us that their conclusions rarely reflect the immediate speculation.

‘After the long flight culminating in the accident, the pilots were then interviewed extensively yesterday by AAIB. The pilots were supported throughout by experienced BALPA representatives. The pilots do not wish to be in the public spotlight and went out for a quiet curry last night. They do not wish or seek “hero status”, and are ‘’embarrassed that their aircraft is all over the front page.’’

‘The events of yesterday did not stop with the crew of BA038. Other pilots in other aircraft lined up behind on the approach would have needed to calmly gone about re-routing. All are ordinary people who do an extraordinary thing.’
BALPA is the union that represents the pilots of British Airways.

Related:  Click here to view all posts on Aircrew Buzz about British Airways Flt 038.