Source : Shutterstock.

Citizens raise safety and viability concerns on fines imposed on airlines that are not punctual

In a Straits Times report dated 19 March, it was said that penalties will be rolled out in the coming months by Changi Airport to punish airlines that are not punctual.

It is said that habitual latecomers and early birds face fines of up to $100,000 and risk losing landing slots.

Many commented that this is unfair as the delays could happen for so many reasons. Some also said that this is one of the ways for the Government to raise money to build Terminal 5.

Leong Sze Hian, TOC’s regular columist wrote, “I was an Air Traffic Controller and one of my favourite TV programmes is “Air Crash Investigation”. Penalties for being late may have safety implications, as I understand that there have been aircraft incidents that were caused by the desire to be on time to avoid repercussions. For example, one very famous air crash involving a plane connected with Singapore, may have been due to some extent to the pilot’s anxiety about having to file “delay” documentation.”

Au Kah Kay wrote, “I am uncomfortable with this proposal to fine airlines for being late. Airlines are late for various reasons – bad weather, technical problems, no show passengers etc. Many of these factors are beyond the control of the airline. In aviation, safety is of paramount importance. Putting undue pressure on pilots to depart on time may result in them compromising safety checks and taking short cuts. Some of the worst airline disasters are due to pilots rushing through pre-flight checklists and ignoring safety warnings on the instrument panel in the name of punctuality. I would rather the airline be late than compromise on safety.”

Arthur Ma wrote, “It is unfair to the airlines as the airlines are also facing delays at the origin airports such as airports in China and weather conditions.”

William Yoke Kwee Lim wrote, “Airport tax increase, now fine for delay or early flight arrival, if all airlines boycott Singapore, what will happen.”

Anna Christian Pinkerton wrote, “Good move. Singapore is a fine country. Fine until airlines kpkb skip Singapore, fly through other cities instead. Our Airport scholars damn smart these days.”

Jonathan Lam wrote, “I don’t see our rail network companies being penalized for being late most times.”

Joe Koshi San wrote, “I hope the Malaysians are seeing this post. Soon they or with the help of China can build an International Airport as big as Changi. Then there is no turning back.”

Edwin Tan wrote, “If airlines find the cost of operating out of Changi too expensive and the number of transit passengers are stagnant. Do you think we need a T5?”

Neil Bailey wrote, “Malaysian airport authorities have just sent flowers of thank you to Changi! And invited the Budget airlines to a rather nice retreat in a decent hotel.”

Rand Chua wrote, “Another way they trying to increase their profit margin. Forcing all others to pay. Plane come early to land, you are not happy, plane come late due to problems you are not happy. Now an idea pop up or why I didn’t think of this to solve the problem, let’s fine them. Please use your brain for long term goal.”

David Chow wrote, “Well, that’s an indisputable indication that your airport ground logistics can not handle the load and they are passing on their deficiency to others alleviate their problems. As many have alluded to, the airport is forcing the Airlines’ hand, putting undue stress on pilots and their crew. This in turn will put pressure on Traffic Control. Now every plane in the air, if early, will accost traffic control to stay on holding pattern, and if late will want to land or push off from gate first to not be late.  All these, because your ground logistics are incapable? Get with the program.”

Rachel Lee wrote, “What’s the point of imposing fines? You want to make Singapore a main hub for travellers and yet you fine the airlines for being late? And yet build so many terminals? Doesn’t make sense.”

Mun Yong Wong wrote, “I think this is not a good idea. This will just push airlines away and then we build T5 to feed mosquitoes. Aircraft delays can be a whole host of reasons, including wind strength at cruise level, route changes, bad weather at originating station, air traffic delays, technical issues, aircraft changes, outbound station delay due passengers or late arrival (snow ball effect). So if Singapore thinks this is good, rethink! Don’t kill the goose that lay the eggs.”

Alvin Ng Heng San wrote, “The cost will be pass on to the passengers and even of they lose their slot, prices will soar based on demand and then to save more time, LAEs will cut down on safety checks making flying more risky.”

Bro-Masz Zlan wrote, “It’s time for me and family and relatives and friends and some people out there for land and sea transportation. World’s best becomes greedy.”

Idris Hj Yatim wrote, “Airlines will start to landing at Johor Bahru and ChangiAirport T4 and T5 will be empty.”

Jim Lion wrote, “As they say, Singapore is a fine country, among the first to fine.”

Simon Cheng wrote, “I think all airlines should stay away from Singapore. Policies are getting from bad to worst.”

Van Thevar wrote, “Come early also got problem. Getting too greedy already.”

Lee Edwin wrote, “Good. Fine them so can raise our Government tax revenue so we don’t need to increase GST.”

Alex Lim wrote, “Oh well, when you need money to fund T5, anything can be used as valid reasons.”