Is it safe to penalise planes for being late?

Commercial airliner in flight over a cloud covered background.Commercial airliner in flight over a cloud covered background.

Will penalizing late flights have safety implications?

I refer to the article “Changi Airport to penalise airlines that don’t watch the clock” (Straits Times, Mar 19).

It states that “Travellers at Changi Airport can expect fewer delays even as the skies become more crowded, with penalties to be rolled out in the coming months for the first time to punish airlines that do not watch the clock.

The Straits Times has learnt that not only habitual latecomers, but also early birds who too end up disrupting schedules will face a fine of up to $100,000 and risk losing their landing slots.”

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.

Leong Sze Hian

About the Author

Leong Sze Hian has served as the president of 4 professional bodies, honorary consul of 2 countries, an alumnus of Harvard University, authored 4 books, quoted over 1500 times in the media , has been a radio talkshow host, a newspaper daily columnist, Wharton Fellow, SEACeM Fellow, columnist for theonlinecitizen and Malaysiakini, executive producer of Ilo Ilo (40 international awards), Hotel Mumbai (associate producer), invited to speak more than 200 times in about 40 countries, CIFA advisory board member, founding advisor to the Financial Planning Associations of 2 countries. He has 3 Masters, 2 Bachelors degrees and 13 professional  qualifications.