UK pilots fight fatigue rules

THE British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA) has raised concerns over new EU pilot fatigue rules.

The House of Commons Transport Select Committee in the UK will investigate the new regulations, which could legally allow pilots to land their aircraft 22 hours after they woke for the day.

“Twenty-two hours of wakefulness is far from the only part of the proposals, which give us serious concern,” Jim McAuslan, BALPA general secretary, says. “Compared to the UK’s domestic rules, the EU proposals would see pilots being able to fly further – as far as California [US] – 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.”

McAuslan goes on to say the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority “seem intent on supporting this European scheme”.

The House of Commons Transport Committee will be taking evidence today.

Three years ago a pilot crashed his aircraft in Buffalo, New York (US), partly due to fatigue. In the US the crash brought about a toughening-up of pilot fatigue rules, but in Europe, ‘we’re headed in the opposite direction’, BALPA comments.

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