Europe's pilots are unnecessarily concerned about the future of flight time limitations legislation, according to the European Aviation Safety Agency.
Pilot and cabin crew unions have been conducting a day of protest about alleged disregard of the recommendations of an EASA-commissioned independent scientific study on current regulations intended to reduce fatigue risk.
EASA says the unions, led by the European Cockpit Association, are trying to "set up a stall for a debate which is yet to happen". At present, says EASA, it is at the stage of talking to crew representatives and airlines in an attempt to frame new flight time limitations to replace the existing rules known as EU Ops Sub-part Q.
The agency says that all input will be considered, including the scientific study that says Sub-part Q is dangerous at its extremes. When the proposed rules are drafted, they will be published for formal consultation at the end of 2010, with the intention of rulemaking in 2011.
EASA points out that the Moebus scientific report it commissioned concerns itself only with commercial operations, and the agency has a duty to frame rules that cover business aviation and other industry sectors.