Norwegian pilot refused to fly over Iraq – got fired

Photo: Cargolux

Photo: Cargolux

A Norwegian pilot is caught up in a legal battle with his former employer; Luxembourg-owned Cargolux, because he refused to fly over Iraq for safety reasons, reports

Hein Floden (56) from Trysil in eastern Norway, had been flying for Europe’s largest air cargo carrier since 1995. When the war broke out in Iraq, Floden was a trusted senior captain at Cargolux.

In 2003, when the airway over Iraq was reopened, the Regional Air Movement Control Center (RAMCC) informed flight crews about the risk of flying over the warn-torn country. Floden, who evaluated the risk, said: “I refused to fly over Iraq as long as we were getting warnings about rocket attacks.”

Cargolux viewed his turndown as a refusal to work, and fired him in 2008.

Floden had suggested flying detours around Iraq on the routes to Dubai and Kuwait, but that would have raised costs and taken too much time. For him this was a matter of principle. “What’s more important, flight safety or a commercial gain?” Floden stated.

The Norwegian pilot has received support from several colleagues, as well as the International Federation of Airline Pilots’ Associations (IFALPA).

The two sides are due to meet in court on September 23.


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