On 30 September the European Parliament specialist Transport Committee rejected proposals from the European Commission for unsafe new EU pilot flying time rules. Following intensive lobbying from the airline industry and what the association calls ‘dodgy last minute backroom deals’, MEPs voted on 9 October not to confirm this decision, which means the rules can now be implemented, unless the EU Council of Ministers decides to discuss and vote on them.
A statement from BALPA claims that, to date, the UK CAA has wholeheartedly supported the planned EU cuts to UK flight safety, not taking into account the evidence presented by both Britain’s 10,000 pilots and the scientific community. British pilots are calling on the Government to look at the evidence and demand that the unscientific and unsafe new rules are voted on by the EU Council of Ministers, which includes UK Transport Ministers.
If the EU Council of Ministers fails to block the rules, the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) is calling on the UK Government to repatriate this rule making from Europe so what it believes to be existing higher UK standards can be maintained. Alongside this, BALPA has stated it will be seeking an urgent investigation into current levels of severe tiredness among pilots under the existing high quality standards.
Jim McAuslan, BALPA General Secretary, said, “British pilots want to make every flight a safe flight and are deeply concerned that these unsafe new EU rules will put the lives of passenger at risk. The UK Government and flight safety regulator have helped the European Commission force through these rules by dodgy last minute backroom deals, which have been made up as they have gone along. This has been a botched process by the EU from start to finish. Passengers and pilots deserve flight safety rules based on rigorous science and evidence, not secret dodgy deal making in Strasbourg, which will mean that Britain no longer has the safest skies in Europe.
“Pilots are calling on the Government and CAA to carry out and publish an immediate scientific review of the impact of the botched new EU rules and demand that they are discussed and voted on by UK Ministers in the EU Council. These rules will see already tired British pilots flying double the number of 5am starts, longer at night and landing a plane having been awake for 22 hours. The Government should reject these cuts which have been rejected by the EU Transport Committee, UK MPs, pilots across Britain and Europe, scientists and the British flying public.”