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KM Malta pilot caught flying for another airline in breach of safety rules


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Several pilots employed with Malta’s new state-funded air carrier, KM Malta Airlines, are up in arms over the airline’s decision to allow a pilot caught working simultaneously with another airline.

The incident happened last month when First Officer Danica Theuma, employed with the new government-owned airline, was caught by chance flying Virgin Atlantic planes in the UK while also working as a pilot for KM Malta Airlines.

Her colleagues told The Shift that Theuma, instead of observing her obligatory rest periods, was using the time to travel to London to fly Virgin Atlantic planes out of Heathrow Airport.

It is unclear how long Theuma had been doing double the time on her flights before being let go by Virgin Atlantic when they found out she was working for another airline.

The Shift is informed that Virgin Atlantic’s managers fired Theuma on the spot as soon as they learned what the first officer was doing.

Apart from a severe breach of contract, the pilot also broke international safety rules that impose strict regulatory constraints regarding duty times and rest periods to ensure passenger and crew safety.

Theuma continues to work with KM Airlines, even though the company has been informed of the situation.

Pilots who spoke to The Shift said their contract did not allow pilots to work for another airline. Theuma compromised her safety and that of passengers.

A veteran pilot told The Shift that every pilot at KM Malta Airlines knows about this incident, and many are incredulous that the national airline kept Theuma on its books.

No answers from KM Malta Airlines

Questions sent by The Shift to KM Malta Airlines Executive Chairman David Curmi and Chief Human Resources Director Robert Fenech remained unanswered.

Both were asked to confirm the incident and state what action had been taken against Theuma. They were also asked whether KM Malta Airlines flights were being operated with strict adherence to international safety rules. They did not reply.

Even ALPA – the union of pilots – usually vocal about compensation to its members, did not issue any statements despite being fully aware of Theuma’s situation.

While Theuma’s actions severely breach her contract as a pilot with KM Malta Airlines, her two jobs also go against EU aviation safety regulations, to which pilots are obliged to adhere.

These include strict flying time and obligatory rest periods to ensure that whoever is flying a plane is fully rested and concentrated on his job for safety reasons.

Pilots cannot work for competitors or other airlines to ensure they are fully committed to their jobs. They must also ensure they meet the minimum rest requirements and manage their availability to avoid scheduling conflicts.

Aviation industry sources also noted that Theuma could have compromised the airline’s insurance and liability as well as her own.


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