Court stays airline’s decision to sack pilots

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EIGHT pilots sacked by Air Niugini last month for disciplinary reasons have been allowed to return to work while the national court reviews the airline’s decision.
The Waigani National Court last Friday granted an interim stay on the decision by Air Niugini.
The order was granted by Justice Collin Makail after airline captains Benjamin Lopa, Joseph Kumasi, Vincent Tongia and five others filed a notice of motion seeking leave for a judicial review of the national airline’s decision to sack them.
The pilots also sought an interim stay of an order by Air Niugini to evict them and their families from its property.
The pilots were dismissed for disciplinary reasons after being found guilty of not undergoing medical checks, failing to attend work and sharing information on social media.
Makail said the pilots had an arguable case and granted them leave to move their review application.
Makail also granted an interim stay to Air Niugini’s decision and allow them to go back to work with full salaries until further orders of the court.
Makail said the eight had families and it would be unjust to remove them from the properties – except for Captain Kumasi who had his own home.
Lawyer Moses Murray represented the pilots. The State lawyer objected to the leave being granted and suggested that since the pilots were employed on contracts, they should seek damages instead. Justice Makail directed that parties to return to court on November 7 for directions hearing.

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