Fatigue evidence must inform new flight time and rest proposals

January 26, 2012

The European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF), the European arm of the ITF, has urged the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to take into account scientific evidence on fatigue when finalising flight time limits and rest period rules in aviation.

In a statement released on 26 January, the ETF said that revised proposals failed to reflect all the comments received following extensive discussions in a working group set up by the EASA. The federation was responding to proposals on flight time limits and rest periods for cabin crew and pilots disseminated by the agency on 18 January via a “comment response document”; interested stakeholders are able to comment on the proposals until 18 March 2012.

The ETF voiced its concern regarding passenger safety, claiming that the EASA had only partly taken on board its demands, ignoring vital scientific evidence on fatigue.

The ETF has pledged to continue to outline its main concerns and demands, which it believes are crucial to reducing fatigue and enhancing safety. It has made a number of points, including that: scientists unanimously recommended that night duty should be 10 per cent lower than proposed; planned stand-by rules would force air crew to be on duty for more than 20 hours without appropriate rest and carrying out overtime could become normal practice, putting safety at risk.

Francois Ballestero, ETF political secretary for civil aviation commented: “More has to be done to protect and improve safety. EASA has access to scientific data on which the new proposed rules should be based. These proposed regulations need to be further enhanced to ensure a safer flight”.

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