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BALPA challenges new fatigue rules

The House of Commons Transport Select Committee has investigated new EU pilot fatigue rules which could legally allow pilots to land their aircraft 22 hours after they woke for the day.

The British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA) highlighted this and other concerns to the Transport Select Committee on Wednesday 22 February.

Jim McAuslan, BALPA General Secretary said, “22 hours of wakefulness is far from the only part of the proposals which give us serious concern. Compared to the UK’s domestic rules, the EU proposals would see pilots being able to fly further – as far as California – with no back-up crew and, contrary to scientific advice, allow pilots to do up to seven early starts in a row, which is desperately fatiguing.

“We have met with the CAA to try and get them to realise the dangers of what is being proposed here, but they seem intent on supporting this European scheme. We need the Government to say it won’t support this danger to public safety, and will demand that we either get the proposals to a much safer position, or retain our own domestic rules.

“The Government has to answer this question: ‘Is it safe to land an aircraft after 22 hours?’ If not, they need to reject these EU proposals now and keep the current UK rules in place until they have been significantly improve.”

BALPA confirmed they were pleased that the House of Commons Transport Committee has launched an inquiry into flight time limitations and took evidence on 22 February 2012 to which BALPA contributed.

More information will be made available soon and further details can be found at www.balpa.org