London, UK

...Sir - Mr Holubowicz asks: "Why should increased productivity be detrimental to safety?" As a captain, flying Boeing 737s, I can answer this.

The cumulative effect of changing sleep patterns, altered rosters, 12-14h days and restricted or no summer leave can result in a pilot feeling disorientated and exhausted. He probably has a mortgage to pay and a family to support. He needs his job and is therefore unlikely regularly to declare himself "fatigued". He thus flies when not properly fit - this 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, accompanied by post-flight positioning around the country (ie, time not part of flying-duty period), as I suspect it does, then this extra productivity must indeed be detrimental to safety.


Hove, Sussex, UK


Source: Flight International