Today, Monday 1 October 2012, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has issued its Opinion on Flight Time Limitations (FTL) for cabin crew and pilots. It contains a revised set of rules which ignores the impact of staff fatigue on flight safety. The ETF is highly concerned about passengers’ safety since EASA has clearly disregarded scientific evidence when drafting its rules on FTL.
The ETF, representing more than 100,000 cabin crews and pilots, is of the opinion that EASA’s set of rules on FTL was drafted in view of the airlines’ commercial interests, disregarding scientific and medical evidence on a number of key issues. EASA does not put passengers’ safety at the centre of their proposal.
Elisabetta Chicca, ETF Cabin Crew Committee Chair said: “EASA does not recognise that science has demonstrated that long flight and duty hours and insufficient rest and sleep for cabin crews and pilots will lead to a decline of alertness and performance. The proposed rules will force air crew to be on duty for more than 20 hours without appropriate rest, even without a break. This is totally unacceptable and undermines the passengers’ safety!”
The ETF states that EASA does not respect the scientific recommendations on the following issues:
- the night duty during the flight should be 10 % lower than proposed and should never exceed 10 hours
- good rest conditions for crews to prevent fatigue have to be ensured at all times
- good stand-by rules with appropriate rest are crucial
- the safety of passengers and crew is at risk when maximum flight times and minimum rest periods become a normal practice
“Still a lot of work has to be done to prevent crew fatigue. The EU decision-makers have to wake up and offer acceptable solutions to this problem of staff fatigue. The ETF is committed to achieve this goal by all means. The EU Institutions must understand that the safety of the passengers has to remain a key priority in the civil aviation industry,” commented François Ballestero, ETF Political Secretary.