UK Airline Passengers Worry About Pilot Fatigue

 - September 2, 2013, 2:45 PM

Nearly 90 percent of the UK public would be concerned about flying with a pilot who had been awake for an extended period of time, according to a survey conducted for the British Air Line Pilots Association (Balpa). The survey asked 2,052 people in the country over the age of 18 one important question related to pilot fatigue: “How concerned…would you be for your safety if you were on board an aircraft being flown by a pilot who had been awake for…[22 hours]?”

The survey was conducted in the context of the upcoming October 24 vote in the UK parliament on new flight- and duty-time rules for commercial pilots, which are based on those being proposed for all member states of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

Balpa wants British legislators to scrap the current proposal and start the rules development process all over. “Being awake for 22 hours will be possible under the new rules due to the way home standby hours will be calculated,” said Balpa. For instance, a pilot wakes at 6 a.m. to get ready and travel to the airport for 8 a.m. However, the pilot is called several times to have his reporting time moved back to 4 p.m. After this, the pilot could fly for a maximum of 12.25 hours. On this basis the pilot could be landing the aircraft after being awake for more than 22 hours. In fact, a further two hours discretion could be added to this figure if something went wrong during the flight, “taking his or her total time of wakefulness to a possible 24.5 hours at the time of landing.”