Qatar Airways Threatens Pilots For Taxiing With Two Engines

This isn’t of much consequence to passengers one way or another, though it sure is interesting to get an inside look into airline operations in this way…

Qatar Airways pilots aren’t following procedures

In late September, Qatar Airways’ Chief Flight Operations Officer sent a rather scathing letter to pilots over their “gross deviation” from the company’s policy. Essentially Qatar Airways has a policy whereby pilots are supposed to taxi with just one engine on arrival (after landing). This is intended to save fuel, and therefore money.

While the Doha-based airline has been targeting a 95% compliance rate, it’s being found that in the past several months, the policy has only been followed 55% of the time.

So the airline is now going after pilots who don’t follow the procedure, going so far as to threaten dismissal from the company for non-compliance.

Here’s the memo to pilots:

“As the airline is going through unprecedented times due to the current crisis, I expect all of you as professionals to make all necessary measures to avoid unnecessary operational costs.

The background of this notice is to highlight that there has been gross deviations by some flight crew from the company’s mandated procedure to carry out SE (taxi in) from the start of the pandemic.

When we started this project a few years ago we had set a target of 95% compliance but it is quite disappointing to see that in the last 3 months we have only achieved an average of 55%.

SOPs are meant to be adhered to and I will not hesitate to take serious action against those who do not follow or deviate from this requirement intentionally without any valid reason.

I have given the instructions to all Fleet Managers that any unjustified non adherence to SE taxi procedures will result in pilots being placed on LOG and called to the fleet office for explanation if not mentioned in post flight report and if the explanation is found to be without valid reasons, a serious action will be taken against offenders including dismissal from the company.”

Qatar Airways pilots are supposed to taxi in on one engine

Here are my questions…

I know we have a lot of pilot readers here, so I’d love if someone could share some insights:

  • Why would pilots not follow the single engine taxi procedure? Is it simply that it’s easier to be able to use the power of both engines, or is there another reason?
  • The airline is targeting 95% compliance, suggesting that there are situations where it doesn’t make sense to use single engine taxi, so what would those situations be?
  • How can the company determine the compliance rate? Is this based on fuel burn, or some engine stats showing how long a particular engine was running, or…?
  • Given that pilots are trained to work off checklists and follow procedures, do pilots at other airlines similarly deviate from single engine taxi procedures, or should this make us question what other procedures aren’t being followed?

Qatar Airways’ taxiing procedure isn’t being followed 45% of the time

Bottom line

Qatar Airways is unhappy that pilots aren’t following procedures for taxiing on one engine. While the letter to pilots is very strongly worded, I suppose that’s fair enough — it’s something that should be possible, and that can save money while also being good for the environment.

This also has me wondering about taxiing procedures across the industry, and if other airlines with similar policies also have such problems with compliance.