A global standard for fatigue risk management will be adopted by March 2011 and become effective in September the same year if draft proposals are accepted by the International Civil Aviation Organisation's Council.

ICAO's fatigue risk management project co-ordinator Michelle Millar says the proposal is for ICAO states to have the option of applying a prescriptive flight time limitations regime on its own, or to provide limitations with the option of running a bespoke fatigue risk management system (FRMS) instead. An operator could also be permitted to use flight time limitations for a part its fleet and fatigue risk management system for another.

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.

Millar, speaking at the FRMS Forum's annual seminar at Virgin Atlantic's London Gatwick base on 26 May, made it clear that rigid compliance with the flight time limitations would be required until a carrier wanting to use FRMS could demonstrate to its national aviation authority 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 flight time limitations for risk-assessed schedules. She 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 FRMS Forum's inaugural meeting last year at Qinetiq's UK headquarters attracted 50 delegates including representatives from regulators and expert organisations, but this year 180 from all over the globe 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 proactively.

ICAO - fatigue risk management task force

Source: Flight International