Day of action on flight time on 14 May
By Isabelle Smets | Wednesday 04 April 2012
The European Cockpit Association (ECA) and the European Transport Federation (ETF) will sponsor a day of action, on 14 May, to raise public awareness of the issue of pilot fatigue. The initiative comes against the backdrop of the planned revision, in 2012, of EU rules on pilot flight time and rest time (Regulation 1899/2006).On 18 January, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) published new proposals, on which a consultation ran until 19 March. The ECA and ETF have already expressed their discontent with the proposals, even if this version is considered a step forward compared with an earlier version (December 2010). The EASA will examine the comments submitted through the consultation, on 15-16 May. The EASA’s final draft will then be forwarded to the European Commission.
The ECA and ETF are particularly critical of the proposal to set a maximum flight duration of 11 hours for flights with a night-time departure or arrival. It refers to scientific studies (“decades of research”) recommending a limit of ten hours at most for night flights. They also draw attention to the total number of hours a pilot may be on duty when the flight is preceded by a stand-by period.With the EASA’s proposals, a pilot may have to land an aircraft after 20 hours of duty and after having been awake for up to 22 hours, explain the two organisations. The ECA and ETF denounce “Europe’s powerful airline lobby,” said to have too much influence on the EASA. The airline lobby speaks of “safety blackmail” by the twoorganisations.