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A sacked pilot of Nok Air airline complained today that he was unfairly dismissed and he said the cancellation of nine flights on Sunday did not entirely stem from pilots’ strike but from acute shortage of pilots.
Mr Sanit Kongpetch, former manager of Nok Aair’s aviation standard maintenance division and also a pilot, claimed that he was not on duty on Sunday and had just recovered from illness when he was asked by the company to report to work.
However, he said that he told the supervisor in charge of the pilots that he was not mentally fit to fly and asked to return to rest but eventually he was sacked without a proper inquiry.
As a pilot, he insisted that a pilot who was stressed or sick should not be allowed to fly because it might affect the safety of the passengers.
The embattled pilot also dismissed the management’s claim that the pilots who went on strike on Sunday because they were dissatisfied because they failed the EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) standard test.
“EASA test is meant to test the company’s aviation safety standard and not to test the pilots,” said Mr Sanit. He also dismissed the claim that some pilots went on strike, pointing out that over 100 flights were not affected that day.
As most of the pilots have been with the company for over a decade and he himself has been a pilot for 20 years, Mr Sanit said the pilots would never hold the passengers hostage by going on strike.
He claimed that Nok Air was experiencing “brain drain” among its pilots because pilots’ pay in Nok Air is the lowest of all the airlines.
Although he has never sued anybody in his life, Mr Sanit admitted that he was considering the legal option to seek justice because he has a family to take care of.
Nok Air CEO Pathee Sarasin however gave another version of the story regarding Mr Sanit. He said Sanit signed up to fly but 15 minutes before he was due to fly he disappeared and could not be reached while the co-pilot was waiting in the cockpit.
He said there was no way for the company to find a substitute for Mr Sanit within 15 minutes and the flight had to be cancelled.