The chief aircraft engineer leaned towards me in and in a hushed tone said, “Don’t fly on budget airlines. They’re not safe.”
Since I’m not going to give specific details about the who’s, what’s, and where’s, don’t expect any major revelations in this blog aside from that one. Believe it or don’t.
Having made that point clear, let’s get back to the conversation…
“Why, what’s wrong with them?” was my obvious question.
“They’re not f***ing safe! Where do you think they save the money so they can fly you from this country to Rome or Athens for £25 return? How can an airline turn a profit selling seats at that price? They can’t! It’s as simple as that. You can’t drive from here to the f***ing airport for £25.” he elaborated. “Think about it.”
“So what you are saying is that budget airlines save money on aircraft maintenance by cutting corners?”
“Cutting corners is an understatement! They give the work to some offshore company that’s prepared to rubberstamp the paperwork. The work isn’t being done, simple as that. A twelve week maintenance task is being ‘done’ in six weeks. That’s the thing – it cannot be done in six weeks. It takes twelve weeks to do the work. I’ve been in the business for thirty years and there is no f***ing way those jobs can be done in that time. Not to standard.
The planes get dropped off at [named place] (a maintenance area). It’s a f***ing junkyard. Half the time the work that does get done isn’t even being done in a hangar for f***sake! It’s done outside, exposed to the elements. Every component is a precision piece of equipment and those bastards are working on them outside in the rain.”
After a long conversation the chief aircraft engineer had one final piece of advice – “only use the big, proper, airlines like British Airways or Swiss Air. They are well maintained and are done to high standards. It’s only a matter of time before another one of those budget aeroplanes drops out the sky. Don’t use them.”