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Savage gets pilot sacked


David

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An airline pilot sacked for allowing a footballer to sit in the flight deck has lost a claim for unfair dismissal.

Pablo Mason was sacked by MyTravel, which has since merged with Thomas Cook, after allowing Robbie Savage into the cockpit on a flight from Finland.

The former Gulf War RAF pilot, 58, from Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, said he had "no complaints" after a ruling by a tribunal panel sitting in Birmingham.

He had been flying the Blackburn Rovers team after a Uefa Cup match in 2007.

Captain Mason, 58, who saw action as a bomber pilot during the 1991 Gulf War, was dismissed after allowing the Wales midfielder to enter the cockpit while flying the Blackburn team to Manchester.

Thomas Cook Airline Services acted fairly in sacking Cpt Mason for gross misconduct, the employment tribunal panel ruled.

Speaking after the ruling, Capt Mason thanked the hundreds of people who sent him messages of support after his dismissal.

Capt Mason told the tribunal he had not believed he was breaching security regulations in allowing Savage on to the flight deck, after being told to use his initiative during the "vital" VIP flight.

The pilot, who represented himself during the proceedings, told the media outside the tribunal building that he had not been surprised by the ruling.

He said: "I have been beaten in a very fair tribunal by an excellent barrister and I have no complaints at all about the way in which I have been treated."

Capt Mason, who has a handlebar moustache, added: "I feel totally privileged to have been regarded by many people in the Midlands as 'Biggles of Birmingham'."

Asked whether he intended to carry on flying, he replied: "It's my life. Somebody can stop me flying but nobody can tell me that I can't fly."

'No terrorism risk'

The tribunal panel gave a brief statement and said the full reasons for its judgment would be published in the coming weeks.

Capt Mason told the panel he had perceived there to be "absolutely no possible risk" of terrorism on board Blackburn's private charter flight.

The panel heard the pilot had already been disciplined for gross misconduct after two separate incidents in 2006, including one in which he stripped to his underwear during an airport security check.

He maintained that one of the incidents was not investigated fully and therefore a formal warning, which later led to his dismissal, should not have been given.

But the Thomas Cook airline claimed Capt Mason - its most popular pilot among the travelling public - was aware of the ban on flight deck visits and had been fairly treated.

A spokesman for Thomas Cook said the airline was pleased with the outcome after the tribunal.

He added: "The professionalism of our pilots and all our staff is of paramount importance in ensuring that security and operating procedures are upheld in the safe transport of all our customers."

[url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/7953069.stm]http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/7953069.stm

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Originally posted by David;6306

The panel heard the pilot had already been disciplined for gross misconduct after two separate incidents in 2006, including one in which he stripped to his underwear during an airport security check.

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