Sir - Mr Holubowicz (Flight International, Letters, 25-31 January, P52) asks, why should increased productivity be detrimental to safety? I am a captain flying Boeing 737s, and I shall answer this question.

The cumulative effect of changing sleep patterns, altered rosters, 12-14h days, restricted or no summer leave, can result in a pilot feeling disoriented and exhausted.

The same pilot probably has a mortgage to pay and a family to support. He needs his job. He is unlikely to declare himself "fatigued" on a regular basis. He therefore flies when he is not properly fit. It is human nature.

If more productivity means sensitive and efficient rostering, then pilots have little to complain about. If it means excessive night duties with minimum rest periods, as I suspect it does, then this extra productivity must indeed be detrimental to safety.

Paul Hegan

Hove, Sussex, UK.

Source: Flight International