Pilots could boycott European rules on working hours

Passenger
airline pilots are planning to boycott new European rules on working hours,
which they claim could leave them too exhausted to fly safely, according to a
report in Monday’s edition of The Times.

The
Government is expected to vote this week in favour of regulations that would
increase the maximum time pilots are allowed to be on duty from 12 to 14 hours.

Under
the new rules, minimum rest periods between shifts would be cut, and
restrictions on the number of consecutive nights on duty would be abolished.

The
British Air Line Pilots Association (Balpa), which represents 8,500 pilots,
fears that the UK will sacrifice its proven safety regime for the sake of
having a single set of rules that cover the entire European Union.

Balpa
said that the European proposals could also be exploited by airlines to reduce
the number of relief crew on long-haul flights.

Mervyn
Granshaw, Balpa’s chairman and a Britannia pilot, told The Times: “The
proposals could mean a pilot having his or her 12-hour flying duty increased to
14 hours, not just for one day, but several days a week. Pilot fatigue is going
to increase dramatically.”

By Daniel Thomas

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