Fired Nok Air pilot claims unfair dismissal, says flight cancellations due to pilot shortages

The Nok Air pilot who was fired over the pilot strike on Sunday that forced the airline to cancel nine flights claims he was unfairly dismissed and blamed the flight cancellations on pilot shortages.

Sanit Kongpetch was sacked and another two pilots suspended over the pilot protest which results in 1,000 passengers being stranded at Don Mueang Airport.

But today Sanit complained he was not even on duty on Sunday. He claims that when he was asked to report to work he told the airline he had just recovered from an illness and wanted to rest, but they sacked him without an inquiry, Thai PBS reported.

He claims the pilots didn’t go on strike as they would never hold passengers hostage, and rejected the airline’s claim that the pilots were protesting the airline’s increased auditing of aviation management to meet European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) standards.

“EASA test is meant to test the company’s aviation safety standard and not to test the pilots,” he said.

The pilot added that Nok Air pilots were unhappy because the airline paid them less than other airlines and said he was considering suing the airline.

However Nok Air CEO Pathee Sarasin disputed Sanit’s version of events, saying he had signed up to fly on Sunday but then disappeared 15 minutes before the flight, leaving his co-pilot waiting in the cockpit while the airline unsuccessfully tried to contact him.

As there was no time to substitute Sanit the flight had to be canceled, Pathee said.

The government today criticized the airline over its handling of the strike, saying it would not condone such negligence and that airline executives must take responsibility.

Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak warned Nok Air that he didn’t want an incident like this again in the future.


Nok Air sacks pilot, suspends two others over strike

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