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June 28, 2017

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Tigerair disciplines 3 pilots for sleeping during flights

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Tigerair Taiwan, a budget airline, confirmed Monday that it has disciplined three pilots for sleeping during flights.

Tigerair said one of the three pilots is a foreign national, while the other two are Taiwanese. An executive of the management department was also reprimanded.

The company started an internal investigation after a co-pilot alleged he had seen eight pilots asleep during flights in a letter to a local newspaper.

The co-pilot, revealed that over a one year period he had taken pictures of the pilots sleeping during flights.

The budget airline said three of the eight pilots had already left the company.

The other five pilots are still working for the company, according to the airline, and it said there was a relatively high possibility that three of them slept on the job.

When asked about the pictures by the airline, the three pilots involved said the pictures were taken so long ago they could not remember what happened.

Tigerair reiterated that pilots are not allowed to sleep while on duty and decided to take disciplinary action in line with the strictest standards.

At the same time, the airline said the co-pilot did not alert the company immediately, which also amounts to negligence and it is investigating his behavior.

The air carrier has said that the flight schedules of all pilots adhere to civil aviation regulations and are in accordance with internationally recognized fatigue management. As such, none of its pilots are overworked, Tigerair said.

Tigerair currently has 92 pilots, each flying an average of 70-80 hours per month (Civil Aviation regulation stipulate a ceiling of 120 hours per month, and 1,000 hours per year).

Lin Kuo-shian (林國顯), director-general of the Civil Aeronautics Administration, said Tigerair was asked to look into the matter and take appropriate action.

Lin also said that the two pilots in the cockpit are equally responsible so if the co-pilot finds a pilot sleeping, he or she should wake the pilot immediately.

If a pilot has problems during a flight, he should hand over his duties to the co-pilot and the latter should notify the company immediately not one year later, Lin said.

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