flybe, pilot, management, recruitment, unfair dismissal, case, law, Birmingham, court, pilot, fear of flying, nausea, sale, merger, buyer, share, profit, loss, management, Brexit, pound, oil, fuel, Virgin Atlantic, Stobart, Cyrus, buy, UK aviation market, feed, SAS, Tinkler, bid, rival, reject, reason, statement, board
Photo: Flybe

Airline “wrong to sack pilot with fear of flying”

A pilot was sacked for a fear of flying he developed on the job had been told to do crosswords when feeling anxious.

A man who flew successfully as a pilot for a number of years but who developed a fear of flying was sacked from his job unfairly, a court in the UK has ruled.

Matthew Guest, a first officer with the regional airline Flybe, became anxious and had panic attacks after being promoted in 2014.

He had been flying for the carrier for seven years and was sacked three years later. Now he wants his job back, the Associated Press reports. That particular matter will be decided next month.

Guest won the unfair dismissal claim after the employment tribunal heard that when he raised his own concerns to his employers about his phobia, he was told to do crossword puzzles whenever he felt anxious in the cockpit.

Senior management
The tribunal ruled that Guest, a father of two children who was based in Birmingham, should have been offered alternative roles or at least the chance to discuss his case more fully with senior staff, specifically with Luke Farajallah, the airline’s chief operating officer.

The tribunal admitted, however, that even if Flybe had followed the rules it was likely Guest would have been sacked anyway.

After his promotion in 2014, Guest had initially been pleased with being moved to longer flights on a different aircraft, but he soon started to suffer from periods of nausea and dizziness.

Related stories

SAS pilots get a single union

Lufthansa recommends psychological tests for pilots

Crash investigation urges clearer medical rules