Turkish Airlines has fought hard over the last few years to build a reputation as a modern, secure, international airline but there are some rather worrying gaps appearing in the carefully created PR image that no amount of sponsorship of glamorous football clubs will hide. The most recent blow is totally self-inflicted and suggests the airline has little idea or concern about how it is viewed by the rest of the world.
The Turkish parliament is debating a law to ban aviation workers from striking. This is just one of many signs of the government’s swing to totalitarianism.
The Turkish Civil Aviation Union reacted by urging members to go sick – the only method of protest available. Turkish Airlines instantly dismissed 150 staff (according to rumours, mostly engineers, cabin staff and at least one Captain).
Turkish Airlines has had one of the worst safety records of any airline in the world. That has improved but, as the accident in Amsterdam showed, they still have problems to overcome. No one likes strikes but the right to strike is a fundamental liberty in any civilised society. If airline employees are fearful of speaking out against their employer or government, safety will be the first casualty.