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BALPA response on pilot ‘fear of flying’ story

BALPA has responded to misrepresented claims in the media that a Flybe pilot was dismissed for fear of flying.

A BALPA spokesperson said:

“The reason for Matthew Guest’s dismissal has been misrepresented in the press. Contrary to the press reports, Matthew did not experience ‘fear of flying’. The up-to-date medical evidence, as reported in the judgment, cites a temporary social anxiety. At the time Flybe decided to dismiss Matthew, all of the relevant medical experts confirmed that he was fit to return to work. The Civil Aviation Authority’s consultant had concluded that Matthew was fit to fly subject to a satisfactory medical flight test. Nevertheless, Flybe decided to dismiss Matthew without considering the up-to-date medical evidence and without giving Matthew an opportunity to make his case to the ultimate decision maker; Luke Farajallah, the company’s then Chief Operating Officer. The Tribunal concluded that no reasonable employer would have decided to dismiss Matthew in these circumstances.

“Matthew took the sensible decision to request time off to deal with his condition and was unfairly dismissed as a result. We’re disappointed this has been so widely and inaccurately reported and it shows there is a long way to go in recognising and supporting workers affected by mental health issues. This could be hugely damaging to Matthew in gaining future employment and also to the likelihood of other pilots reporting similar mental health conditions to their employers in the future.”