Sir - In "Duty bound" (Flight International, 14-20 December, 1994, P32) you say that "...IFALPA [International Federation of Airline Pilots' Associations] is convinced that the proposed European rules are dangerous".

It is a nonsense for pilot unions to pretend to be prepared to leave decisions to the Aeromedical Establishment, as stated by British Air Line Pilots Association (BALPA) general secretary Chris Darke in his letter (Flight International, 30 November-6 December, 1994, P40).

Darke goes on to say that anyone familiar with schemes in Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK "...could not fail to conclude that the JAA [Joint Aviation Authorities] proposals represent a relaxing of regulation, to the detriment of flight safety". Why should increased productivity affect safety? Is it because a few European airlines used to negotiate highly restrictive agreements in lieu of higher pay? Many others worldwide have long experience of higher-productivity, statutory, flight-time-limitation schemes without any apparent safety degradation.

BALPA's current "safety" cry echoes those, not to remove radio operators, navigators, or flight engineers from the cockpit. All these were silenced by a little more cash for the pilots.

Your article comes close to jeopardising its credibility when it says that IFALPA in its "dangerous" claim "...has the support of the airlines". The overwhelming majority of Europe's 100 airlines, which have long and safely employed pilots within statutory government rules (the basis of the proposed new European JAA rules), as distinct from union agreements, will have no truck with IFALPA's self-serving assertion.


Director general

International Air Carrier Association

Brussels, Belgium

Source: Flight International