Flybe knew about crew water problems, claims union
Published on Sunday, October 27, 2019
Unite the union claims it had already alerted Flybe to problems with the water supplied to its flight crew, but the airline had failed to take action.
It made the claims after Flybe was forced to recall all bottles in circulation and switch suppliers last week due to suspected microbiological contamination.
As a result, a number of flights were delayed on Wednesday morning.
Unite issued a statement on Friday claiming that on a number of occasions in the last year its reps had raised concerns about the water supplied to flight crews as it was found to contain high levels of sodium, leading to several recent recalls of the water.
It said its recommendations to change to a different brand were rejected due to the catering supplier wanting an additional two pence a bottle to change brands.
“Flybe’s management must be ashamed that a refusal to spend just two pence extra on bottled water led to such a serious flight disruption this week,” said Unite regional officer Peter Coulson.
“Unite will now be working with Flybe to ensure that this problem is resolved and that water supplied to all crew members is safe.”
In response, a Flybe spokesperson said: “We are surprised and concerned that Unite has not engaged with Flybe to determine the facts regarding this matter prior to contacting the media.
“The bottled drinking water that is supplied by us to our on-duty flight deck and cabin crew is a recognised, reputable and popular brand, sold widely in leading supermarkets and food outlets.
“On Wednesday (October 23) our distributor contacted us following the communication of a national product recall as a precautionary measure due to suspected microbiological contamination.
“We took immediate action and conducted a thorough risk assessment to determine any potential health and welfare risk to our crew. As a result there was a limited delay to the departure of some flights on Wednesday evening. All bottles of the suspected branded water were taken out of circulation and replaced with a different well-known brand.
“As a further precautionary measure, we have now changed suppliers and taken delivery of another well-recognised brand of bottled water for use by our crew.”