TAIWAN – A China Airlines Captain has been filmed recently, taking a nap in the cockpit of his passenger jet in mid-flight. The pilot is a senior officer for China Airlines – the national carrier of Taiwan – with almost 20 years’ experience, according to media reports.
The video surfaced just days after China Airlines pilots ended an unprecedented seven-day strike over issues such as pilot fatigue and long working hours. It’s not clear when the incident took place, but the airline responded saying that the clip was filmed before the recent strikes.
The Captain is said to be the airline’s most senior Boeing 747 pilot, with almost 20 years of experience, flying mainly Tokyo, Okinawa, Seoul and Hong Kong. The chief pilot is also an instructor in charge of simulations at the China Airlines Flight Training Center.
Facing accusations including ignoring flight safety procedures, the pilot is said to have ‘received adequate punishment’, a statement by China Airlines said.
‘Fatigue is inevitable. But as a senior officer, the pilot should have set a good example for his subordinates, an unnamed China Airlines pilot told EBC News. ‘If the pilot was really too tired, he could have alerted crew members and have them observe your condition,’ he added.
Guidelines state that pilots can sleep in the cockpit on longer flights in what is known as ‘controlled rest’, but typically the procedure would be done with the seat pulled back and the pilot nowhere near the controls.
Taiwan’s Civil Aviation Bureau states that if pilots have flown for more than 12 hours, they should be given at least 24 hours off.
The co-pilot has also been disciplined for not waking the pilot up.
(Top photo: Kentaro Iemoto from Tokyo, Japan [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)]