One aspect of flight safety that does not receive much publicity, but which is now being recognised as an important factor in the drive to prevent accidents, is the link between working conditions and human fatigue. Long or very late working hours and insufficient rest periods can have an impact on aviation safety.

In Europe, legislation on flight time and duty time limitations are regulated by national legislation, which gives rise to crucial differences between different countries. This is despite a move initiated more than a decade ago to liberalise the European aviation market in a harmonised framework.

There have been several attempts to solve this issue, but the European Commission has until now failed to achieve this goal. The latest development is a compromise proposal from the European Parliament that has progressed to the Council of Transport Ministers.

This proposal for working and rest hours for aviation crew has come this far without any consideration of existing scientific and medical evidence produced over the past 10 years by independent European fatigue experts, who have strongly criticised the proposal.

In the interests of consumer and crew protection, the future European harmonised legislation on limitations on working hours in aviation should be in accordance with the latest medical and scientific advice.

Capt Teddy Iversen

Chairman European Cockpit Association

Brussels, Belgium




Source: Flight International