European pilots and cabin crew stage protest in Germany

May 16, 2012

More than 300 pilot and cabin crew unionists from across Europe have taken to the streets of the German city of Cologne in protest over the latest EU proposals regarding aircrew flight times.

Gathered in front of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) on 14 May, the activists spoke out about their concerns regarding the agency’s EU flight time limitation proposals, which they believe are insufficient and fail to protect both passenger and crew safety.

Under EASA’s current proposal for aircrew on standby, a pilot would be required to land an aircraft 20 hours after having woken up. This is only one of numerous unsafe practices that the proposal would permit.

Pilots’ and cabin crew represented by the European Cockpit Association (ECA) and the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF), the ITF’s European arm, are urging the EASA to base its rules on science and safety considerations, rather than on airlines’ commercial interests.

“Science has demonstrated that long flight and duty hours, and insufficient rest and sleep opportunities will lead to a decline in alertness and performance. To guarantee that pilots and cabin crew are fully alert, strong EU rules, based on science, are essential”, said Nico Voorbach, ECA president.

“The ‘S’ in EASA’s name stands for safety. And this is what we rightfully demand from the agency. But EASA is not yet fulfilling its duty as a safety regulator. It is rather giving in to the lobbying of big airlines, which are commercially driven”, says François Ballestero, ETF political secretary.

EASA representatives are set to meet with stakeholders this week to discuss the plans.

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