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MPs back pilots’ EU fatigue concerns

An influential Commons committee has today backed pilots’ concerns about new European flying hour limits.  The Transport Select Committee says that the proposals could jeopardise safety and that the Minister needs to intervene in order to secure improvements to the regulations which could possibly see pilots landing after being awake for 22 hours.

Jim McAuslan, BALPA General Secretary, said, ‘This report should be a wake-up call to the Government that it must stand up for UK-level aviation safety standards and not allow them to be watered down. This is not for pilots’ sake, but for the travelling public.

‘The whole EASA process has been mismanaged – something acknowledged by the Committee – and that includes ignoring key scientific advice and that scientists should have been given a “more prominent role in the rule-making process.”

‘That’s why we’ve ended up with pilots landing after possibly being awake for 22 hours – something the committee says is ‘extraordinary’ – and why flying overnight is less restrictive than the scientists say it should be.

‘The MPs are right to say that the proposed rules accept “a higher level of fatigue” and “could well lead to a situation where the accident rate will increase.” Given that, we totally agree that these rules must be improved before adoption could be considered by the UK.

“In the meantime we need assurances from the Government that the high safety standards we have in the UK will remain in force until we can be sure that the EU standards would be a genuine improvement.”

BALPA and other pilot organisations from around Europe demonstrated in front of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in Cologne two weeks ago, in a bid to convince the Agency that safety must be at the heart of new pilot fatigue rules. Read more here.