English travel writer suggests Welsh language could make planes less safe
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?”