In a bizarre story Icelandair, the national airline of Iceland that has a big market between Europe and North America had decided to sack all of its flight attendants and replace them with pilots. The management and the Icelandic cabin crew association known as FFI reached a stalemate in early July as the airline din’t need as many cabin crew and had to find a way to reduce the burden during these Covid-19 times, however the negotiations failed as the management wanted the cabin crew to take major cuts and renegotiate an agreement all the way till 2025. The management claimed that they were left with no solution to “ensure the long term competitiveness of the company while safeguarding the competitive compensation and working conditions of the company’s cabin crew members.” The FFI did not find the terms agreeable and no mutual conclusion was reached at first.
Icelandair had since been exploring other options regarding safety and service onboard its aircraft. As a result, the company decided to instruct its pilots to assume responsibility for “safety on board”. This was a ploy that was used by British Airways with volunteering pilots to break a cabin crew strike back in 2010. It is definitely a scenario that raises a red flag as the cabin crew on board are not just there for service or to welcome the passengers, their more important task is the safety of the passengers in an untoward incident or an emergency in flight or even a medical problem on board like giving CPR, the protocols are strictly laid down whereby the cabin crew should be able to evacuate all the passengers on board an airplane with half the number of doors/exits in the stipulated 90 seconds as per regulations.
While the Airline did claim that they would impart an expedited training to the pilots and keep their “pilot cabin crew” to the minimum required, it may not have been the safest flight on the planet, but it is safe to say now that it is one of the most bizarre things to be suggested by an airline this year.
Thankfully the management and the crew reached a settlement end July to avoid this unwarranted and unsafe action to say the least, and the pilots wont need to don those skirts or the cabin crew uniform anymore, but even the suggestion of this idea was surely Bizarre wasn’t it??