Thu, Jan 23, 2003
Unions Warn of Dangers Posed by Increased Fatigue
The European Parliament is floating the idea of
"allowing" pilots more time in the cockpit, in the interest of
cutting airlines' costs. While recognizing that some scheduling
flexibility would probably help the airlines, unions are worried
that increasing the duty cycle for pilots from 12 to 14 hours per
day would lead to increased fatigue, and the resultant increase in
The Association of European Airlines, which is backing the
proposal, says such a relaxation of the current rule would put more
flexibility into the system; it argues that individual States could
still tighten the requirements.
The European Cockpit Association, with 31,000 members, is
preparing to launch a public campaign against the idea, including
strikes. BALPA, whose members are predominantly British, says those
advising the European Parliament committed "appalling errors."
BALPA released a statement that said '14 hours'
really means something closer to '20 hours,' given all the pre- and
post-flight work and prep, as well as stand-by time. Captain Mervyn
Granshaw, BALPA's chairman, maintained that 20 hours' staying alert
renders about the same effect on a pilot's ability as a blood
alcohol content exceeding the standard in Britain for calling a car
driver, 'legally drunk.'
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