A number of aircraft crew flew to the rescue of an air traffic controller at Dublin Airport after they heard a British Airways pilot argue with her over the radio.
The incident occurred on Sunday after an emergency landing at the airport resulted in several arriving and departing aircraft being delayed for a time.
While most pilots that had been scheduled to depart waited for their turn, the BA pilot took exception to the hold-up.
His flight had been cleared to be pushed back from its stand in preparation for departure to London Heathrow. An Aer Lingus aircraft was also given permission around the same time to push back onto another taxiway.
The controller had tried to contact the British Airways crew over the radio to advise them there was an Aer Lingus aircraft behind them. The BA pilot then called the controller to tell her the ground crew had stopped pushing his plane back because there was another plane behind them.
On a tape recording of the exchanges which appeared on social media on Sunday night, the controller told the pilot: “Yeah, I was trying to call you sir.” The controller told the pilot the Aer Lingus aircraft was pushing back and when they were clear, he could then push back and start his engines.
The pilot acknowledged the instruction but told the controller: “You should have told us that before really.” The controller replied: “I was trying to call you sir, you weren’t listening out but they (Aer Lingus) were also cautioned reference you, they were supposed to give way.” The pilot retorted: “I wasn’t listening out because we were talking to the ground crew and they’re telling us the same thing, so you’re a bit late.” The controller again told the pilot she had called him on the radio to warn him of another aircraft behind.
“Oh so it’s his fault, okay,” the British Airways pilot said.
“I’m just too busy to continue any further conversation about this on frequency,” the controller told the disgruntled pilot.
The pilot of another aircraft, who had been listening in, said: “Maybe push off stand quicker” while another said: “Yeah, get off stand quicker.” As pilots continued to take sides with the controller, another said: “Good girl.” A fourth pilot jumped to the controllers defence saying: “You’re doing a great job, thanks very much.”
After a time, the British Airways pilot requested permission to taxi and was cleared to do so.
Then he said: “And to advise, we will be filing a safety report.” One pilot replied: “Oh my God” while another called the BA pilot a “tool”. Several pilots then keyed their microphones and laughed on the frequency to show their disgust at the BA pilot’s behaviour.
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