IFALPA urges rethink of multi-crew training syllabus

Concerns that first officers will not have the flying skills required to take over should a captain become incapacitated have been sparked by reduced training requirements for a new International Civil Aviation Organisation-sanctioned pilot licence category.
ICAO’s multi-crew pilot licence (MPL) should be “suspended while a full assessment of the licence and its standards is carried out”, says the International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations (IFALPA). The professional pilot community must be involved, it argues.
The MPL is a licence requiring that, from the private pilot licence stage onward, the student is trained as part of a crew of two, with the aim that he/she should start professional flying as an airline co-pilot. IFALPA says it does not have a problem with the MPL concept, but with the fact that there is “a reduction in the number of actual flight hours compared with current Joint Aviation Authorities and Federal Aviation Administration requirements. The replacement of flight time with simulator or [flight and navigation procedure trainer] FNPT II time may lead to an erosion of basic flying skills which, while having a limited effect in normal operations, may very well become vital in an emergency.” ICAO was unavailable for comment.
Separately, IFALPA is alarmed at the inadequacy of aviation infrastructure safety and security in Afghanistan and Iraq. Austrian Airlines will become the first European airline to open scheduled services to Iraq, with the introduction of twice-weekly Airbus A319 flights to Erbil from 9 March. The move has prompted concerns over the risks to crew and passengers from shoulder-launched missiles and other types of ground fire.
However, Austrian says it has “no specific security concerns about Erbil”, adding that it is “the safest gateway into Iraq”.
IFALPA has urged operators to confirm that these countries comply with ICAO standards before launching services.

Additional reporting by KERRY EZARD

Source: Flight International