Pilot unions have condemned as unsafe new flight and duty time rules approved by the European Parliament on October 9. The decision overturned an earlier 21 to 13 vote against the new rules by the Parliament’s own transport committee on September 30.
Opponents of the new limits, including the British Air Line Pilots Association and the European Cockpit Association (ECA), claim they are unsafe and fly in the face of current scientific research on pilot fatigue. The pilot unions argue that, in some cases, the new rules would allow operators to keep cockpit crews flying as many as 12.5 hours through the middle of the night, or, through a combination of standby and flight duty time allowances, remain awake as long as 22 hours.
“Today the European Parliament voted for a regulation that is not to the benefit of the flying public in Europe,” said ECA president Nico Voorbach last week. “By adopting these rules, the Parliament endorsed the [European] Commission’s approach of taking risks–avoidable risks.” Voorbach put regulators on notice as well. “Now that these rules are adopted, in case of an accident related to aircrew fatigue, Europe’s citizens will have to hold accountable those who promoted this flawed proposal,” he said.