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English travel writer suggests Welsh language could make planes less safe

14 Apr 2021 2 minute read
Simon Calder. Picture by Holidayextras (CC BY 2.0).

An English travel writer has suggested that the Welsh language could make planes less safe.

Simon Calder complained about Welsh language announcements on aircraft that fly into Wales, in a column for London-based news organisation, The Independent.

He said that he doubted that lack of Welsh language “caused any harm”. He added that including what he claimed was “more guff” in announcements was a “burden”.

Calder said: “In the unlikely event you find yourself aboard a plane flying to Wales before the end of April, you should discover the Welsh terms for ‘a new continuous cough, a high temperature or a loss of, or change in, normal sense of taste or smell.

“That is one stipulation of a ‘Notam’ that applies to all passenger flights into Wales up to 29 April: a mandatory Welsh-language announcement about Covid.

“Notam is short for a NOTice to AirMen. This disrespectfully gender-specific term is defined by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as ‘a notice containing information essential to personnel concerned with flight operations but not known far enough in advance to be publicised by other means.

“The personnel concerned, whether male or female, are pilots. I wonder how many of them have complied with the instruction that a 150-word onboard message about coronavirus precautions is delivered ‘in English, Welsh and an officially recognised language of the country of departure’?

“I would be surprised if the answer was anything other than zero, and doubly so if the lack of a Welsh-language announcement caused any harm.

“But the existence of this weighty Notam means yet more guff for airmen and women to wade through as they carry out their duty to fly us safely and professionally. And adding to their pre-flight burden is not a zero-risk issue.

In a tweet he added: “Is it really necessary to instruct pilots flying to Cardiff to ensure that a Covid announcement is made in Welsh as well as English and one other language?”

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3 years ago

Makes sense, given little flights into Wales it shouldn’t present any problems.

3 years ago

Isn’t all about keeping the Welsh language and culture alive. Never knew that Simon Calder was such a philistine. Stupid man! It’s our language suck it up or just stay out of Wales.

Last edited 3 years ago by June
Kizzie Jarvis
Kizzie Jarvis
3 years ago

Welsh is the language of the country you are flying too, whether or not you yourself are Welsh or how widely English is spoken there. If you feel this way I presume you also moan when flying to all other countries that use their own language when English is also widely spoken. To state it causes no harm as a person not of that country and not a native speaker just goes to show how little respect you have for any culture that is not your own.

3 years ago

Would he wrote this about any other language?
This information will be bilingual and is correct as some people in Wales surprisingly speak Welsh.
Another nobody trying to make himself known.
I’m a Welsh immigrant with two Welsh speaking children and family I’m immensely proud of that. As a Mancunian my gorgeous dad taught me to embrace all cultures fully and was immensely proud of his grandchildren.

Russel Williams
Russel Williams
3 years ago

How, exactly, is it making it unsafe? If there were problems, no announcements wound be made. As it is, announcements are made in Welsh and English. as any flights to any other country from UK are announced in English and language of country you are going to. If it upsets you that much to hear a different language, stay home.

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