A week after the horrific crash of Air France flight 447 between Rio and Paris, gaping questions remain — but clearly at least some pilots are now publicly clashing with Air France’s corporate culture. To wit, an Air France pilot’s union has called for its members to “Refuse any flight on an Airbus 330 or Airbus 340 not having had at least two Pitot tubes modified.” The Pitot tubes communicate data that is instrumental to setting air speed, and apparently they are prone to icing over in certain conditions such as the A330 flight may have experienced.
This dissension, while healthy, is yet another indication of how despite any and all assurances to the contrary, profit is more important to big airlines like Air France than safety. It’s obvious that many if not all A330s and A340s in the Air France fleet are truly not fit to fly at the present time. But what about Iberia’s, or Air Tahiti’s, or similar models belonging to other airlines’ fleets?
It would appear that, in the wake of last week’s possibly preventable tragedy, the time for clear and open communication between airlines and the flying public is now.