Working Hours Rules, Air passengers are concerned about proposed changes to flying rules that could lead to an aircraft being flown by a pilot who has been awake for 22 hours, according to a new poll.
Nine out of 10 people are worried about potential changes to shift patterns being voted on by MEPs in October, a survey by British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa) has revealed.
The new rules could lead to pilots operating long haul flights with two, rather than three, crew members and working up to seven early starts in a row.
The changes to pilots’ duty times and rest requirements have been proposed by the EU’s European Aviation Safety Agency’s (EASA) and are aimed at ‘harmonising’ limits on pilots’ hours across the EU.
Under the new rules, pilots could be landing commercial jets after 22 hours awake – including 11 hours flying, plus stand-by time and travel to the airport.
Under the current UK rules, pilots work a maximum of three early starts in a row and a maximum of 95 hours in 14 days. EASA is proposing to change this to seven early starts in a row and a maximum of 110 hours in 14 days.
Three pilots are needed on many long-haul flights but EASA has proposed that only two pilots are needed on some of the longest flights. Balpa says this will mean that the pilots have no opportunity to rest in flight before the landing.