Nok Air gets warning, dismissed captain blames pilot shortage | Bangkok Post: learning


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Nok Air gets warning, dismissed captain blames pilot shortage

Nok Air chief executive Patee Sarasin (left) says pilots disgruntled over having to choose between executive and management positions were behind Sunday's cancellation crisis, a claim flatly denied by Sanit Khongphet (right), the captain dismissed over his actions. Photo (left) by Wisit Thamngern, (right) a screengrab from Channel 3

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The dismissed Nok Air pilot blames a severe lack of pilots for Sunday's crisis as the government warns the company it could lose its licence if it allows passengers to be affected by its problems.

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Nok Air received a severe warning yesterday as the company's chief reiterated that disgruntled pilots were responsible for Sunday's flight cancellations, a claim flatly rejected by the pilot/manager dismissed by the airline. Let's begin with a Bangkok Post story before taking a close look at the pilot's claim made during a Thai TV channel 3 appearance late yesterday afternoon.

Nok Air gets yellow card

Post reporters

The government has warned Nok Air it could lose its licence if it allows passengers to be affected by its problems.

Government spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd said after the cabinet meeting on Tuesday that the cabinet ordered the Transport Ministry to meet Nok Air chief executive Patee Sarasin to give the warning.

The move followed Nok Air pilots' strike on Sunday which had called off nine flights and stranded hundreds of travellers at Don Mueang airport.

If such an incident recurs, Nok Air's licence will be suspended and a third offence would result in the licence being terminated, Maj Gen Sansern said.

Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon said on Tuesday that Nok Air’s CEO had shown up late at Don Mueang after the strike although airline staff and officials should be on hand to help passengers and take swift responses.

He also said it was unacceptable for pilots to strike in protest against a measure aimed at improving air safety standards.

Deputy Transport Minister Ormsin Chivapruck told the cabinet that Mr Patee had not attended a government meeting with airline executives on Monday because he had been involved in filming an advertisement in Hua Hin district, Prachuap Khiri Khan.

To prevent a repeat of the incident, the Transport Ministry would require all airlines to have partners to serve their passengers during strikes, he said.

Besides, they would have to work out risk-management and emergency-response plans within a month, he said.

The deputy minister also said the striking Nok Air pilots had tendered their sick leaves only an hour before their flight schedules on Sunday and his ministry would also hear their side of the story in addition to management information.

At the Transport Ministry on Tuesday, Mr Patee said the strike was caused by management’s decision to have the pilots choose to be either executives or pilots, a safety measure aimed at separating duties for more balanced supervision.

At present, some of its pilots concurrently serve as executives.

He said Nok Air had 130 pilots and only eight had problems with the measure.

From left to right, Channel 3 newsman Sorayut Suthassanachinda discusses Sunday's pilot action with Sanong Yingchalern, head of the pilot's association, and Sanit Khongphet, the only Nok Air captain fired over the incident.

Dismissed pilot explains

Late yesterday afternoon dismissed Nok Air Captain Sanit Khongphet explained his side of the story to a large television audience through veteran Channel 3 newsman Sorayut Suthassanachinda.

First, Mr Sanit flatly rejected Mr Patee's contention that pilots were angered at having to choose between being executives and pilots. He said the executive position only added 5,000 baht to his salary and he much preferred piloting aircraft.

He said the biggest contributing factor to Sunday's crisis was a shortage of pilots. A significant number of pilots (30 - 40) had resigned the previous year which means there are not enough pilots to adequately cover its flight schedule, a matter company executives had not discussed with pilots with management responsibilities.

More pilots were hired, but it takes three to five years before they are ready for full service. Thus, the airline was not ready for Sunday's traffic even without the pilots failing to show up for work.

Airline executives pressured the company's trainers to authorise the use of new, not fully qualified pilots, to cover the gaps, something Mr Sanit says he firmly resisted and which caused great unease among the trainers who were also pilots. They were among those who refused to fly on Sunday, Mr Sanit said. Their distressed psychological state disqualified them from flying. Thus, Sunday's action was not a strike, not a protest, but was caused by a genuine problem within the company, he said.

You can see the full interview (in Thai) here:

Learn from listening

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adequately : good enough or large enough for a particular purpose - อย่างพอเพียง, พอประมาณ

advertisement (noun): advert; a short piece of video or words with pictures that makes people interesting in buying some product - การโฆษณา

affected (verb): having received an effect or influence - ถูกผลกระทบ, มีผลต่อ

aim : to have as your purpose or goal - มีเป้าหมาย มีจุดมุ่งหมาย

appearance (noun): an act of appearing; an act of appearing in public - การปรากฎตัว

association : an official group of people who have joined together for a particular purpose - สมาคม

audience : the people who watch/listen to an event happen - ผู้ชม

authorise : to give official permission for something, or to give someone official permission to do something - ให้อำนาจ, มอบอำนาจ, ให้สิทธิ

balanced (adj): keeping or showing a balance so that different things or different parts of something exist in equal or correct amounts - ที่สมดุล

cabinet : the group of government ministers who make and approve government policy - คณะรัฐมนตรี

cancellation : a decision to stop something that has been arranged from taking place - การยกเลิก

chief executive : the person with the highest rank in a company or an organisation - ผู้บริหารสูงสุด

claim (noun): saying that something is true although it has not been proved and other people may not believe it - ข้ออ้าง ข้อกล่าวหา

concurrently (adv): at the same time - พร้อมกัน, ควบคู่กัน

contention : a belief or an opinion that you express, especially in an argument - ความคิดเห็นในการโต้แย้ง

contributing factor (noun): something which helps cause something to happen - สิ่งที่ช่วยก่อให้เกิด

crisis : an urgent, difficult or dangerous situation - วิกฤตการณ์

deputy : a person whose rank is immediately below that of the leader of an organisation - รอง

disgruntled : disappointed and annoyed about something - ซึ่งทำให้ไม่พอใจ, ซึ่งทำให้ขุ่นเคือง

dismiss : to force someone to leave their job - ไล่ออกจากตำแหน่ง

disqualify : to not allow someone to take part in an activity because they do not meet the necessary requirements - ตัดสิทธิเพราะไม่มีคุณสมบัติ

distressed : upset and anxious - กังวลใจ, ไม่มีความสุข

duty : something that you have to do because it is part of your job, or something that you feel is the right thing to do - หน้าที่, ความรับผิดชอบ

emergency : an unexpected situation involving danger in which immediate action is necessary - เหตุฉุกเฉิน

executive : a senior manager in a business or other organisation - ผู้บริหาร

fire : to make someone leave their job, sometimes as a punishment - ไล่ออก

firmly : in a strong or definite way - อย่างหนักแน่น

flatly : in a firm and definite way intended to end discussion of a subject -

gap (noun): a difference between people or groups - ช่องว่าง

genuine : real; honest - แท้

hire : to pay someone to work for you - จ้าง

improve : to make better - ทำให้ดีขึ้น

incident : something that happens, usually something bad - เหตุการณ์

licence : an official document that gives someone permission to do or use something - ใบอนุญาต

measure : an action taken to solve a particular problem - มาตรการ

offence : a crime or illegal activity for which there is a punishment - การกระทำผิดกฎหมายหรือข้อบังคับ

on hand : at a place and available for something; present - ปรากฎอยู่

partner (noun): two people, businesses, organizations, etc that work together on some project or business - ผู้ร่วมมือ, ผู้ร่วมกระทำ

pilot (verb): to fly an aircraft or guide a ship; to act as a pilot - ขับเครื่องบิน, ขับ

pilots (noun): people who operate the controls of an aircraft, especially as a job - นักบิน

preferred : wanted more than anyone or anything else - ซึ่งชอบมากกว่า

pressure : to try to make someone do something by forcing, threatening, or persuading them in a determined way - กดดัน

protest : a strong complaint or disagreement - การประท้วง

psychological : connected with a person's mind and the way in which it works - ทางด้านจิตใจ, ทางจิตวิทยา

qualified (adj): able to do something, because you have the knowledge, skill, or experience that is needed - มีคุณวุฒิเหมาะสม, มีคุณสมบัติ

recur (verb): to happen again - เกิดขึ้นอีก,กลับมาอีก

reiterated : repeated something in order to emphasise it or make it very clear to people - ยืนยันตามเดิม

reject : to not agree with - ปฏิเสธ ไม่ยอมรับ

resign : to state formally that you are leaving a job permanently - ลาออก

resist : to oppose or fight against someone or something - ต่อต้าน

response : a reaction to something that has happened or been said - การตอบสนอง

responsibility : a duty; a duty to deal with or take care of somebody/something, so that you may be blamed if something goes wrong - ความรับผิดชอบ

responsible for : deserving to be blamed for something that has happened - มีความรับผิดชอบ

risk : the possibility that something dangerous or unpleasant might happen - ความเสี่ยง

salary : a fixed amount of money that you earn each month or year from your job - เงินเดือน

schedule : a plan that lists all the work that you have to do and when you must do each thing - ตารางเวลา, กำหนดการ

separate : to keep or put apart - แยก

severe : very serious and unpleasant - รุนแรง

shortage (noun): when there is not enough of something - การขาดแคลน

significant : large or important enough to have an effect or to be noticed - ซึ่งมีความหมาย

spokesman : a person who speaks on behalf of a group or an organization - โฆษก

staff : workers employed by a person or organisation considered as a group - คณะผู้ทำงาน, คนงาน

standards : a level of quality that is normal or acceptable for a particular person or in a particular situation - มาตรฐาน, บรรทัดฐาน

state : condition - สภาพ

stranded : left somewhere with no way of going anywhere else - ปล่อยเกาะ ถูกทิ้งไว้

strike : a period of time when an organized group of employees of a company stops working because of a disagreement over pay or conditions - การหยุดงานประท้วง

supervision : the process of making sure that something is being done properly - การควบคุมดูแล การตรวจตรา

suspended (verb): not allowed to participate or to do a job for a period of time; not allowed to be used for a period of time - ถูกระงับ

swift : quick - อย่างรวดเร็ว

tender (verb): to formally offer or announce something, usually in writing - ยื่น

terminate : to end or stop something - ทำให้สิ้นสุด

Transport Ministry (noun): The government ministry oversing all matters related to transportation, including highways, air transport and safety, licensing, road taxes, etc. - กระทรวงคมนาคม

unacceptable : that you cannot accept, allow or approve of - ซึ่งไม่สามารถยอมรับได้

unease (noun): the feeling of being worried or unhappy about something - ความไม่สบายใจ,ความกังวล

veteran : a person who has a lot of experience in a particular area or activity - ผู้อาวุโส

warn : to make someone aware of a possible problem or danger - เตือน

warning : an action or statement telling someone of a possible problem or danger - การเตือน


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