KM Malta pilot caught flying for another airline in breach of safety rules

Several pilots employed with Malta’s new state-funded air carrier, KM Malta Airlines, are up in arms over the airline’s decision to allow a pilot caught working simultaneously with another airline.

The incident happened last month when First Officer Danica Theuma, employed with the new government-owned airline, was caught by chance flying Virgin Atlantic planes in the UK while also working as a pilot for KM Malta Airlines.

Her colleagues told The Shift that Theuma, instead of observing her obligatory rest periods, was using the time to travel to London to fly Virgin Atlantic planes out of Heathrow Airport.

It is unclear how long Theuma had been doing double the time on her flights before being let go by Virgin Atlantic when they found out she was working for another airline.

The Shift is informed that Virgin Atlantic’s managers fired Theuma on the spot as soon as they learned what the first officer was doing.

Apart from a severe breach of contract, the pilot also broke international safety rules that impose strict regulatory constraints regarding duty times and rest periods to ensure passenger and crew safety.

Theuma continues to work with KM Airlines, even though the company has been informed of the situation.

Pilots who spoke to The Shift said their contract did not allow pilots to work for another airline. Theuma compromised her safety and that of passengers.

A veteran pilot told The Shift that every pilot at KM Malta Airlines knows about this incident, and many are incredulous that the national airline kept Theuma on its books.

No answers from KM Malta Airlines

Questions sent by The Shift to KM Malta Airlines Executive Chairman David Curmi and Chief Human Resources Director Robert Fenech remained unanswered.

Both were asked to confirm the incident and state what action had been taken against Theuma. They were also asked whether KM Malta Airlines flights were being operated with strict adherence to international safety rules. They did not reply.

Even ALPA – the union of pilots – usually vocal about compensation to its members, did not issue any statements despite being fully aware of Theuma’s situation.

While Theuma’s actions severely breach her contract as a pilot with KM Malta Airlines, her two jobs also go against EU aviation safety regulations, to which pilots are obliged to adhere.

These include strict flying time and obligatory rest periods to ensure that whoever is flying a plane is fully rested and concentrated on his job for safety reasons.

Pilots cannot work for competitors or other airlines to ensure they are fully committed to their jobs. They must also ensure they meet the minimum rest requirements and manage their availability to avoid scheduling conflicts.

Aviation industry sources also noted that Theuma could have compromised the airline’s insurance and liability as well as her own.

                           

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Breitling for the Minister
Breitling for the Minister
1 month ago

She was suspended initially and then she allegedly “ kellmet Ministru” and kept her job ! Way to go KM MA. Transport Malta should suspend her ATPL asap for breaching Fllight Time Limitation rules.

Steve Borg
Steve Borg
1 month ago

Any competent state authority, not TM CAD run by the amateur Charles Pace would revoke the license of this pilot!

Ian
Ian
1 month ago

She was filling their stupid gender quotas

Marjo
Marjo
1 month ago

Bravo to this irresponsible and greedy woman for jeopardizing the life of her passengers. And a big well done to the newly-founded KM Malta for sending the wrong message by not firing this officer, or at least taking severe disciplinary action against her. Must be a friend or a friend of a friend of someone important.

C armel
C armel
1 month ago

Perhaps she is sponsored by a minister

Stephen Forster
Stephen Forster
1 month ago

Obviously well connected.

S. Camilleri
S. Camilleri
1 month ago

KM Malta Airlines. Continuity with the sleazy Air Malta. Certainly headed in the same direction. Friend of friend. That’s how credible the airline is when it brags it prioritises passenger safety. And ALPA, usually so deafeningly loud, remains silent. Sleaze is contagious.

George Mangion
George Mangion
1 month ago

In the first 3 months of KM airlines history where taxpayer paid €320 million to rescue bankrupt AirMalta yet the three government appointed directors are already in serious breach of IATA regulations on health and safety.Will any resignations follow????

No this case has to go to court like Vitals, Electrogas, Montenegro windfarm, Enemalta oil heist and many others.Judgement will be slow so Malta risks again going to be Grey Listed.

Francis
Francis
1 month ago

Cushy

Anna Briffa
Anna Briffa
1 month ago

I knew there was a reason I had no faith in KM AM. I’d rather pilots referred to their safety manuals than any two-bit minister.

Antonio Ghisleri
Antonio Ghisleri
1 month ago

This whole business does not inspire much confidence in KM Malta Airlines. I wonder whether the next time her name is mentioned in the usual announcement from the flight deck just as the plane is about to start taxiing, passengers will be allowed to alight!

Jeremy
Jeremy
1 month ago

She seems to be best friends with AOPA Malta President Mark De Marco, so one can easily conclude why she wasn’t fired from KM Malta Airlines. Yet another case of favouritism in this country. No sign of transparency and accountability. Very disappointing.

Keith Sketchley
20 days ago
Reply to  Jeremy

Clarify if you know she is a friend of his.

W. Wright
W. Wright
1 month ago

Whilst what the First Officer did sounds uncontractual, there is no proof in this article that what she did was illegal. So one should tread carefully before making safety accusations. As long as she did not infringe flight time limitations (FTLs) and kept to 100 flying hours within 28 days etc., no regulation was broken, irrelevant if her flying hours were complied with different operators.The same with rest periods. As long as she observed the statutory rest in between flights, then she is perfectly legal and safe. What sounds strange to me however is that Virgin do not operate the Airbus 320 she is certified to fly with KM Malta Airlines. Operating a different type of aircraft would necessitate a whole different type rating on her licence. SN would do well to explain this.

James
James
1 month ago
Reply to  W. Wright

The A320 and A330 can be operated at the same time. If you have one airbus type rating, you don’t need a new one for a different airbus type, just a 2 week conversion course.

S. Camilleri
S. Camilleri
1 month ago
Reply to  W. Wright

“instead of observing her obligatory rest periods, was using the time to travel to London to fly Virgin Atlantic planes out of Heathrow Airport.” Sounds illegal to me.

I Fly For A living
I Fly For A living
29 days ago
Reply to  W. Wright

Not exactly.

If she was operating flights for Virgin in her scheduled rest days based on her KM roster, she was most definitely not operating within the law, as by the time she gets back to her KM flights she would most definitely be in violation of some or any of the following :

  1. Minimum rest before/after duty
  2. Cumulative duty over 7, 14 & 28 days
  3. Max night, early or late duties in a row
  4. Minimum cumulative days off
  5. Cumulative block times

With modern pilot schedules for most airlines in Europe operating close to minimum rest & maximum FTLs and duty periods, it doesn’t take much to go over said limits, and operating full-time with KM on a typical short haul roster whilst also using the days off to operate long haul flights (where mind you, you have other limitations coming into play because of the difference in time zones between departure & destination), she was most definitely in breach of some rules.

Raymond Hinton-Bonello
Raymond Hinton-Bonello
29 days ago
Reply to  W. Wright

She breached her mandatory rest periods, no greasy area, gross misconduct, she should never be allowed to fly another aircraft !

A. Fan
A. Fan
1 month ago

Just one more reason to fly some other airline, as if we needed another.

I’m adjusting my insolvency bet down to three years, plus one or two for the traditional MLP cooking of the books before it becomes undeniable, yet again funded by the Maltese taxpayer …

Robert pace bonello
Robert pace bonello
1 month ago

Who the heck is she? The GREED alone gives a strong indication where she is coming from as well as the apparent protection at KM. HOW CAN YOU RUN A COMPANY LIKE THIS? The writing is on the wall

O.Cassar
O.Cassar
1 month ago

Simply said but with regrets, avoid flying with KM Malta. I used to feel very safe on the old AirMalta but this is not the same airlines. I know friends who complained that the aircraft is also dirty and neglected.

Last edited 1 month ago by O.Cassar
michele
michele
1 month ago

How this was not flagged in the first place? Virgin Atlantic fly different aircraft from KM Malta Airlines so the pilot had 2 different type ratings on her licence. Since Virgin Atlantic fly UK-registered planes the pilot also had a valid UK license since they are not part of EASA(EU) and also 2 different medicals. The airline had to be aware of this from day 1 and It’s irresponsible for the pilot to not show this. Also from the flying logbook this should have been flagged that she flying on another aircraft with another airline. The airline should request a copy of the logbook every few months. Also, how was this not flagged by TM where every time the CPL licence is renewed they request the original logbook. Even airline pilots who fly as GA flight instructors with flying schools have to adhere to strict rules regarding the resting period and also to make sure they do not surpass the yearly 900-hour limit. I find it surprising that no one knew about it.

Keith Sketchley
20 days ago
Reply to  michele

Pilots can have multiple aircraft types on their licence, the question is how current are you otherwise you need a refresher.

Someone herein says the two airplane types have a common type rating. (Similarity in flight controls and instruments is a key factor. Still, I wonder about the wiseness of flipping between types.)

Christopher Hitch Borg
Christopher Hitch Borg
1 month ago

Ma tarax li Malta, tiehu decizjoni ta’ dixxiplina. Ahna m’ghandniex saltna tad-dritt!!!
Pajjiz mishut min niesu stess.

Ray Piscopo
Ray Piscopo
1 month ago

I would avoid flying with Danica Theuma if I knew what flights she would be piloting.

Fun Yoga
Fun Yoga
1 month ago

TM CAD silent about all of this…if here was a breach in FTL’s of EUOPS her license should be suspended. Flight time limitations are there to safeguard the safety of the passengers not to permit this greedy pilot to eat out of two troughs.

Carlos Dimech
Carlos Dimech
29 days ago

Danica likes to collect money.

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