Number of page: 113
Publisher: The Stationery Office
Category: Business & Economics
This report examines draft proposals from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to change the rules that govern how many hours a pilot can fly. The Transport Committee warns that working hours and conditions for pilots and cabin crew must be improved or safety could be at risk. Currently, the UK implements stricter flight time regulations than some other European countries, but under the new rules proposed by the European Aviation Safety Agency, the UK would not be able to have its own regime and the UK’s current standards would be lowered. Fatigue is already an issue in aviation: 43% of pilots have reported falling asleep involuntarily at some point whilst on duty under the UK’s current regulatory framework. The Committee recognises that flight time limitations are complex regulations, but the report highlights several issues where there is clear scope for improvement. The proposed 11 hour duty period at night for pilots flies in the face of scientific evidence and should be reduced to a 10 hour maximum. There is added concern that a pilot could land a plane after 22 hours awake. The Civil Aviation Authority must do more to monitor pilot hours so that long duty periods are the exception not the rule, and must address a culture of under-reporting of pilot fatigue. MPs accept that common European flight time limitations could improve aviation safety for UK passengers travelling on non-UK airlines. However, for these benefits to be realised the European standards must be uniformly high.