Pilots and cabin crew demonstrate over EU duty rules

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Pilots and cabin crew from 36 nations are protesting today over European Union plans for new flight and duty time regulations that crews believe will raise the risk of fatigue-induced accidents.

Members of the International Federation of Airline Pilots' Associations (IFALPA) European representative body, the European Cockpit Association, together with colleagues from the European Transport Workers' Federation, are demonstrating at airports across the continent against both the current and proposed regulations.

IFALPA today reiterated its opposition to the current EU stance on new flight and duty time regulations, which it says ignore independent, EU-funded research into fatigue factors affecting aircrew.

"Since the findings of the study (the Moebus report) were published a year ago Brussels appears to have buckled under pressure from lobbying groups," says IFALPA in a statement. "As a result, the forthcoming regulation, as set out by the European Air Safety Agency (EASA), does nothing to improve the safety of the travelling public and, it can be argued, actually makes air travel less safe by not taking into account this EU-funded research and not even permitting member states with more stringent regulations, to retain them."

In the UK (where pilots are not allowed to demonstrate on airport property), British Airline Pilots' Association (BALPA) general secretary Jim McAuslan has written to the UK Transport Secretary, Lord Adonis, asking him how the UK government will uphold a 2006 promise to maintain the UK's standards, which would be overtaken when the proposed new EU regulations come into force in 2012.

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