The Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA), an American pilot union, would not like Wizz Air to enter the market of the USA. They said that the Hungarian low-cost airline uses “a toxic culture of reprisal” to intimidate crew. Furthermore, they say it ignores issues such as fatigue and illness that could compromise safety.
Wizz Air slammed by US pilot union
As the prestigious British aviation news portal, Flightglobal reported, ALPA sent the relevant letter to the Department of Transportation (DOT). They asked the authority not to give air carrier permits to Wizz Air for charter and cargo operations. They said that DOT should consult first with European aviation authorities.
They said that Wizz Air would like to fly to American destinations. However,
the company is anti-union and lacks a strong safety culture.
“We’re calling on DOT to work to ensure labour protections are in place, consistent with the Biden Administration’s strong support for workers’ rights” – ALPA president Joe De Pete said last week. The pilot union added that Wizz Air had a zero-tolerance policy for unions.
They assault them through public warnings, refuse to comply with court orders and retaliate if somebody attempts to organize the union.
Moreover, Wizz Air dismisses pilots provided they do not fly overtime if they are sick or on their days off. That is why ALPA claims the company does not meet flight safety standards and would be harmful if it entered the US flight market.
Unions “killing business”?
ALPA slammed Wizz Air’s practice to offer subcontracts for flight crew or rented pilots, who earn less and can be dismissed any time.
Flightglobal says that the letter of the ALPA is not the first time the company came under fire for its business operation. Last week a Danish pension fund sold $3.4 million of shares because Wizz Air refused to join in collective bargaining with employees in several countries.
They said that the company’s attitude is not in line with labour rights. Wizz Air CEO József Váradi said in a June 2020 interview that
unions were “killing the business.” He added if unions get too strong somewhere, they are flexible to close their base and move on.
Iho.hu, a Hungarian traffic news portal, asked Wizz Air what the company thinks about the letter of the ALPA. They promised to share their response as soon as they get one, but their article has not been updated yet.
They said that the Hungarian low-cost airline would like to operate its A330-200F cargo plane in the USA and submitted the relevant request in January. Interestingly, the Hungarian government bought the plane, but Wizz Air uses it. Hungarian media wrote before that the company would like to conquer the American market with its long-range A321XLR. They added that
Wizz Air would like to fly from Budapest and other European big cities to, for example, New York.
However, after such news came out, CEO József Váradi said they would like to use the new planes in eastern routes. Interestingly, Wizz Air already flew in US airspace. They took home Hungarian families after the outbreak of the coronavirus epidemic.