The Eastern European low-cost operator has been the target of international criticism due to the management style in handling the Covid-19 crisis. Now, Wizz Air seems unable to ramp up flight operations due to low staff levels and staff not being current.
Wizz Air is short of crew due to the dismissals of last year, and they are flying the crew to the maximum limitations (FTL) while ignoring reinstated crew and not recalling our members back into their workforce.
European media is reporting dozens of flights canceled by the operator, and Wizz Air’s representatives say they have encountered operational problems. The company has recently wet-leased a series of charter companies to operate flights on their behalf to cover the demand.
Wizz Air dismissed 1000 pilots and cabin crew in April 2020, in a move to cut operational expenses and get rid of unwanted employees, as reported by Reuters in April this year. The dismissals were challenged by the professional association FPU Romania, and Wizz Air has been forced to reinstate four pilots and ten cabin crew by the Romanian court system. Unfortunately, the company has decided not to recall any of the employees back at work, disregarding the court order for effective reinstatement.
Following the recent operational events, the management has started an internal survey, which FPU Romania has recently seen, aiming to allocate more flights to the active crew in a desperate move to cover the demand. Sources say that the managers in Romania are collecting information about the availability of the current crew to take additional duties from off days and even from the employees which are now during their annual holiday.
One of the managers is even mentioning that they realize that some crew has very tight rosters and that they see that the flight time limitations are kicking in, but that they still believe there are available resources that are underutilized.
Following the pandemic dismissals, Wizz Air continued to aggressively expand with over 20 new bases, adding at least 15 new aircraft to their fleet. According to the company website, Wizz Air is boosting a fleet of 120 A320 airplanes, but now many of those are probably parked on different bases due to the lack of crew.
Wizz Air must now reconsider their responsibilities in front of the public and its own employees and explain why they are rejecting the former employees that were dismissed when the pandemic hit?
The systemic abusive culture at Wizz Air is their greatest failure. Most of the employees dismissed in April 2020 have demonstrated a lot of courage and persistence to expose what goes on behind the scenes, and that is a remarkable attitude. All crew members are constantly trained to report fatigue and other safety issues but are then not protected, and even worse retaliated against when they speak out.
Managers have often been heard saying that “You are either with us or against us!”, turning all those who reported safety concerns and then went further to sue a multibillion company into “persona non grata”. Perhaps this could be the real reason behind Wizz Air avoiding recalling those brave professionals who stood up for their rights and for that they caused grief to the managers.