Global standards for fatigue risk management will be adopted by March 2011 and become effective in September the same year if existing draft proposals are accepted by the ICAO Council.
Speaking during a risk forum at London Gatwick on 26 May, ICAO fatigue risk management project co-ordinator Michelle Millar detailed the proposal.
ICAO states will have the option of applying a standalone prescriptive flight time limitations (FTL) regime, or opt to run a bespoke fatigue risk management system (FRMS) alongside, or apply a mix of both within an operator's fleet.
Splitting the compliance methods within a single carrier might be done, for example, to take account of differences between the needs of the long-haul and short-haul fleets.
But Millar makes it clear that rigid compliance with the FTLs would be required until a carrier wanting to use FRMS could demonstrate that it has a fully operating system within its organisation.
Once an FRMS has been approved at a carrier, it may then apply to go outside the FTLs for risk-assessed schedules. Millar says ICAO will provide "clear minimum standards" for an FRMS, and it has drawn up guidance to help airlines understand how to meet the standards and recommended practices.
The risk forum's inagural meeting last year, at the headquarter of UK company Qinetiq, attracted some 50 delegates. But this year 180 from around the world have been taking part.
EasyJet's Capt Simon Stewart says FRMS is about to go global because enough carriers are beginning to understand the importance of managing fatigue risk pro-actively.