Pilots' Union Warned Spanair: Operations Are a 'Disaster'

Union told management fleet was too old as early as 2007
By Clay Dillow,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 22, 2008 1:10 PM CDT
The tail of the Spanair jet that crashed on take off at Madrid airport is seen on Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2008. The pilots' union warned that airline operations were chaotic and the fleet too old.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Pilots at Spanair, operator of the MD80 airliner that crashed in Madrid this week, killing 153, warned management repeatedly that passenger safety was compromised by the “chaotic” way the airline was operated, the Times of London reports. Emails from the Spanish pilots union claimed the fleet  wasn’t being updated quickly enough and that “the operation continues to be a disaster and is getting worse by the day.”

The pilots' union chastised Spanair management as early as April 2007 for delaying agreed-upon upgrades to new A320 aircraft and warned that the lack of resources was causing too many MD80s to be grounded for safety concerns. Early theories that a failing left engine caused the crash have been debunked as new evidence has emerged. “There was more than one failure,” a Spanish aviation authority says. “One engine does not cause an accident.”