The Prime Minister David Cameron has more than Europe on his mind, as he is amongst 'the decision makers' who have just received a final warning from Britain's airline pilots that the European Union's pilot fatigue plans are unsafe.
Julian Bray Aviation Analyst comments: BALPA contend the proposals from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) will replace the UK's current higher grade domestic regulations. New standby provisions could see pilots landing after being awake for 22 hours or more, a reduction on the number of pilots required on very long-haul flights, the elimination of the restrictions on the number of early starts pilots can do, which are especially fatiguing, and would allow longer overnight duties than the scientists say is safe.
Pilots all members of British Airline Pilots' Association (BALPA) delivered a dossier containing scientific reports, correspondence and testimonials to Number 10, the Department for Transport and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) who, amongst them, will decide whether to downgrade to Europe's lower safety limits, or to stand up for UK standards.
BALPA has also released a video on < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d1cJayMNv9U&feature=youtu.be> showing pilots delivering that dossier in person, highlighting the fact that "Tired Pilots Risk Lives" and demonstrating what could happen if these rules are not significantly changed.
Jim McAuslan, BALPA's General Secretary, said: 'Our message to the decision makers is "You have been warned. We have done everything we can to warn Ministers, politicians, civil servants and EU bureaucrats about why these rules are unsafe and could endanger passengers. Now, frankly, it's over to them.'
"On behalf of UK cabin crew, Oliver Richardson from Unite the Union said, 'EASA's proposals are hugely worrying for cabin crew and we are working closely with our pilot colleagues to ensure decision makers are aware of our shared concerns. Alert and well-rested cabin crew are vital to ensuring the safety of passengers on board aircraft, and these proposals will simply make the situation much worse for both cabin and flight crew.
Pilots and cabin crew from across Europe are also taking part in national coordinated activities and actions to highlight this risk to flight safety. The European Cockpit Association (ECA) representing pilots and the European Transport Workers Federation (ETF) representing cabin crew are working together on actions including demonstrations in 15 EU member states and a 100,000 signature petition will be handed over in Brussels.
Contributor: Media Analyst, Aviation, Politics & Travel Commentator, Broadcaster & Journalist Julian Bray NUJ, EQUITY UK Landline: 01733 345581 Mobile: 07944 217476 ISDN2 +44(0)1733 555 319 (UK HOME ISDN 01733 555319) G722/APT-X Dual Codecs SKYPE: JULIAN.BRAY.UK