Another blog update from Mr Tom Burgess, former Senior Vice President of Emirates Group IT.
The blog is about rotten EK management structure and corrupted, dishonest, incapable and manipulative senior EK managers with Gary Chapman, president Group Services and Dnata, as their leader.
I have previously provided my thoughts and experiences of the other four members of what I affectionately (honestly!) call the ‘Gang of Five’, so now I turn my attention to Gary Chapman. Like most people who have worked in the Emirates Group, I have heard many stories about, and views of, Gary Chapman. This is natural, given his position. But I will base what I write solely on my own experiences. Gary Chapman was happy to see me fired based on second hand information which was not true, but that is no excuse for me to alter my standards. I will cover my personal experiences with him later on in this update, but I will first make some observations on what we can all see.
The Emirates Group is in disarray. Profits are down, Group headcount is far in excess of what can be afforded and staff morale was low even before the redundancy programmes commenced. For a number of years everyone has seen the need for serious change, but all we have observed at the top has been a serious case of paralysis. The situation is now so bad that someone from outside of the Group has been brought in to sort out the mess. The acute problems in the airline cannot be laid directly at Gary Chapman’s door and I am sure that the Group has enjoyed a steady flow of income thanks to Gary’s business acumen, but the performance of support areas for which he has responsibility has been a major contributor to the problems that are now evident.
Bringing in a highly experienced fresh pair of hands is a good start, but I wonder how the obvious changes that are required are going to be implemented. When I was in the Group, I did not meet anyone who had experience of complex and major change programmes. There was limited depth in terms of day to day man management skills and, apart from the late Sir Maurice Flanagan, nobody was seen as a traditional ‘leader’. Combined, these issues posed a significant risk so the Leadership Development initiative was launched. But what has that achieved? Demonstrably very little as the Emirates Group management structure remains as it has been for many years, just layer upon layer of supervisors, each ascending level proudly boasting an even bigger capital S. Who has responsibility for Leadership Development? Gary Chapman.
I’ve read this article on Yahoo Lifestyle yesterday and wondered how far can a pursuit for the profit go? And does doing business these days means only flooding the media with stories which promote your desirable image? Does any CEO or business owner today thinks they can resolve their inner organizational and human resources problems with a few positive image articles on the internet? How long before managers figure out that they cannot beat the internet because it gives an equal power to everyone, including those whose voice managers don’t want to hear?
I am not glad to see that EK managers hadn’t learned much about running the long lasting business. They are still trying to mask the problems with the old “high class lifestyle” public discourse, while their company is falling apart from the inside.
Is it that human conscience is limited with its own mortality so much that managers simply don’t care what will happen after they go, or they simply don’t know how to think in future terms? Maybe combination of both, but, in the meantime, while EK is struggling with its limited managers whose only job is, it seems, to drink Costa coffee in the HQ Costa cafe and to make sure that internet gets its daily dose of “Emirates high class lifestyle” articles, this blog will publish not so glamorous stories about the real lifestyle inside Emirates Airline.
I’ve got this story as a comment on my blog and decided to publish it as an article because I had similar health issues while I was working in EK (without health insurance!). When your employer doesn’t care about your health, I guess you have to take care of yourself and the internet can be a good doctor in the world which recognizes only money for its supreme leader.
“Dragna, I have been following your blog for about 2 years. I’ve resigned from EK in 2013.
I left because I felt we as crew were not treated fairly, there was no Support system we could rely on.
2012 I was diagnosed with a begnine tumor in my uterus, and after pleading with my manager to let me come home for the operation (because they wanted me to have the surgery in Dubai, and if so, I’m pretty sure I would have died,since I had complication during it), I was allowed one month for surgery and recovery.
Obviously it took more than one month, and while recovering I was stressing out, because I kept seeing flights being rostered, and, just because I hadn’t sent my doctor’s letter on time (I was at the hospital) stating that I was still in hospital and could not return.
There was no one in charge to contact directly (they were closed for Eid) and instead of being relaxed and advancing on my recovery, I was freaking out.
It was one of the most horrific experiences of my life.
Later I found out that the reason that tumor had developed was due to hormonal inbalance caused by lack of proper nutriton, rest and stress.
In conversation with at least 7 female crew, i found out that they too had had simililar problems, and had to have surgery.
My last year at Emirates I was A380 FG1, more than once I had to eat standing and while the service was going on. I would grab a bite everytime I enter the galley and chew before I took the next item of food to the customer. With On Demand service, breaks to eat are nearly impossible.
When I came back home for good, I had medical tests done and I was diagnosed with severe anaemia, not to mention that I fell into deep depression which I’m still battling with.
The good times of my EK experience were completely obscured by the many bad things that happened. Sad to say it.
In some of the previous stories on this blog we have seen that EK cabin crew work in inhumane conditions, but this e-mail I’ve got from one former member of EK cabin crew shows how Emirates’ flight attendants don’t even have a meal break on their flights.
This e-mail I am sending you shows how EK has removed the meal break on long flights and how the crew are not able to seat and eat on the flights:
The stations (only) were given a revision in their policies manual which removed the need to soft block seats (therefore depriving the crew from having adequate seating to have their meal break. In April this year the company issued a revision to the outstation policies manual putting the soft block policy back. For 7 years the cabin crew manual still had the soft block policy in place and it was a requirement to have the meal break but of course we were never given it because we didn’t have the seats arranged. The company don’t allow us to eat in the jump seats facing the passengers (95% of Jump seats).
That email shows how management have:
1. Removed a rest policy without informing the crew (and the crew are responsible for adhering to rest policies)
2. Have willfully changed a GCAA controlled document (the manual) without sanction from the regulator.
3. Known that this discrepancy between the two manuals is causing confusion.
4. Known that crew already have difficulty having a meal break due to the configuration of the A380 as most of the jump seats are in the cabin and not the galley and the company prioritising the image concern of crew eating versus allowing them to have a legally required meal break.
5. Introduced two services on a 5:30 flight so that there is no possibility for the crew to even have a meal break.
6. Placed the responsibility on the purser for giving the meal break and in the event that a safety incident occurred (like a crew being so fatigued that they open the cabin door with the escape slide armed or they give the wrong medication to a passenger having a heart attack) the management could always turn to the crew and say: there is a meal break in the manual… Why did you not take the meal break?
The same person has also sent me this e-mail:
I found out that EK did an illegal flight from Dubai to Munich, where the crew and pilots operated the flight and had a rest of 8 hours, when the minimum rest required is 11 hours. but because there was a technical problem on another airplane, they called another set of crew and pilots to do this flight and they gave them less than the minimum rest, and everything goes normal for EK, breaking the rules and even after the accident, they didn’t seem to learn that they were very very lucky for no passenger or crew to die on that one. They are pushing everyone to the limit till another one happens and with fatalities, because they have money and they simply don’t care for human lives.
From EK’s internal cabin crew flight schedule system
An Emirates airline plane has crash landed at Dubai Airport after reportedly catching fire in mid-air.
The Dubai government confirmed the Boeing 777-300 jet crash-landed at the airport shortly after 1pm local time (9am UK time) with 300 passengers and crew on board.
The three-hour flight took off from Trivandrum International Airport in India at around 6am UK time before the captain is understood to have sent out and emergency signal shortly before the plane was due to land.
No-one is believed to have been seriously injured and passengers have been safely evacuated.
Read more at: Mirror
I’ve got this Press Release yesterday. I don’t usually publish passenger-related stories. Nevertheless, I found this story interesting and very informative.
Passengers win compensation from Emirates for marathon flight delay following two-year battle
- Passengers on Emirates flight endured 23-hour flight delay
- Airline tried to exploit ‘extraordinary circumstance’ loophole
- Two-year battle for compensation
- Case study in how airlines try to avoid compensation pay-outs
POTSDAM, Germany and PALO ALTO, Calif. – 28 April, 2016 – The process of claiming compensation for flight delays is not for the faint-hearted, as two Australian passengers have discovered. When Brett and Lisa Smith’s flight from Milan to New York was delayed more than 23 hours, they thought that their case for compensation under European Union legislation would be a simple matter. They were wrong.
Under EU 261/2004 compensation rules, passengers whose flight is cancelled or arrives more than three hours late can claim up to €600 (£473) depending on the distance of the flight. The compensation rules apply to flights departing from any EU airport (including Iceland, Norway or Switzerland) or arriving in the EU with an EU carrier.
The couple, booked on flight EK 205 from Milan Malpensa to New York (JFK) in April, 2014 experienced a long ‘creeping delay’. After check-in, they were advised the flight would be delayed by three hours or so. After finally boarding, passengers were told that the engine technical issue could not be fixed after all, and a part needed to be flown in from Dubai the following day.
Passengers were deplaned, returned through immigration, collected their bags, and transported to a hotel. Nearly 24 hours later, the exhausted passengers were finally on their way to New York.
The couple lost a day of their holiday, along with the cost of one night’s hotel accommodation, theatre tickets and dinner reservation, all of which was pre-booked, pre-paid, and non-refundable.
Ignoring the rules
Airlines are expected to inform passengers of their right to compensation in the event of lengthy delays. An estimated 11 million people per year in Europe alone are eligible to claim for €6 billion in compensation for flight disruptions under European Union (EC) 261 legislation. At no point during the 23-hour saga were the Smiths advised that they were eligible for compensation.
When Mr Smith, a frequent Emirates flyer, later contacted the airline, Emirates rejected the claim. The airline stated that the matter had been investigated by ENAC, the Italian Civil Aviation Authority, and ENAC had ruled that the delay was due to ‘extraordinary circumstances’ and Emirates was therefore not obliged to pay compensation.
When Emirates provided no evidence of either the investigation or ruling, Mr Smith decided to contact the air passenger rights company (name of the company is known to the administrator of this blog) that advocates for travellers.
Mr Smith says: “I’m pretty relaxed about delays due to safety issues; these things happen. But I’m surprised and annoyed that the airline claimed there was an investigation and ruling to justify not paying out, when there doesn’t appear to have been either.”
‘Extraordinary circumstances’ – what counts?
Airlines can only legally sidestep compensation claims if a flight disruption is due to extraordinary circumstances beyond an airline’s control; events that ‘could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken’. These include bad weather, security issues, industrial action, and hidden manufacturing defects.
Airlines often try to avoid compensation pay-outs for aircraft technical failures, arguing that this also falls under extraordinary circumstances, but a recent European Court of Justice ruling (Corina van der Lans v KLM) rejected this argument.
It took two years, countless emails, forms, document submissions, and ultimately an investigation and ruling from the appropriate local ENAC Directorate to secure full compensation of €600 each for the Smiths.
“This case illustrates just how far airlines will go in an attempt to fob off passengers,” says Eve Büchner, Founder and CEO of the air passenger rights company. “The majority of passengers either don’t know their rights, or do not have the time, nerve or money to jump through the endless hurdles airlines put up in an attempt to force passengers to abandon their case.”
“It’s absolutely impossible for an individual who has no knowledge of the law and no experience of dealing with the claim process to get compensation,” said Mr Smith. “Which, of course, is what the airlines want. The airlines are happy to brush off customers with an array of excuses and push passengers to the point where they are forced to go to court. An impossible situation if you have to travel to another country to do so.”