“Today the European Parliament (EP) voted for a Regulation that is not to the benefit of the flying public in Europe,” says Nico Voorbach, ECA President, after the adoption of the new EU Flight Time rules by the EU Parliament this afternoon. “With this approval the EP took a step away from a ‘precautionary’ approach, ignored scientific expert advice and put passenger safety at risk.”


On 30 September, following the rejection of the Flight Time rules by the EP Transport Committee, the EU Commission circulated a press statement urging for a debate on the proposed rules “not based on misleading scare stories and false claims”. European pilots fully agree.


European pilots and cabin crew welcome today’s decision of the EU Parliament Transport Committee to reject the Commission proposal for new flight time rules in Europe. With a large majority of 21 to 13 votes, the EP Members voted for the rejection of the proposal which contains several significant safety loopholes. The vote sends a clear signal to the Commission to come up with an improved safe and science-based text that ensures passenger safety is safeguarded.


Two airline pilots on a long-haul flight into the UK are reported to have both fallen asleep, leaving the plane on autopilot with no-one to take control in the event of an emergency.


A new study on the prevalence of fatigue concludes that a large majority of airline pilots in Portugal are exposed to fatigue and highlights its impact on flight operations. According to the research, approx. 90% of pilots are extremely fatigued with medium/short-haul pilots being most prone to suffer from fatigue.


19 days before the Flight Time Limitations vote in the EU Parliament (EP), the UK Transport Committee has questioned the scientific basis of the new EU rules and requested the EU Commission to address a number of issues.


New rules to counter air crew fatigue on board of European aircraft have been unveiled this week by the European Commission. This final proposal comes after an intensive debate among Member States in the ‘EASA Committee’, several of whom voiced concerns about some of the proposed new rules, such as on night flights and standby. Despite this, the text now published shows little difference to the previous flawed EASA proposal, put forward in 2012. Disregarding repeated calls to close some of the most blatant safety loopholes in the text, the Commission now aims for adoption without delay – a wish strongly echoed by European airlines.


Night flights of more than 10hrs are accompanied by critically high levels of fatigue, which impair the ability to operate an aircraft safely. This fact is undisputed ever since the early 90s across the scientific community. Yet, with deliberate disregard to this scientific consensus the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) tried to dismiss this fact and defend its controversial proposal for over 11hrs of night flying during a Public Hearing in the EU Parliament. 


The European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) urges EU decision-makers to “think carefully before giving final approval” to the Flight & Duty Time Limitations Rules proposed by EASA. In a position paper published on 6 May, ETSC questions the full take-up of scientific evidence in the proposed rules and pinpoints areas where improvement is required.


On 19 March, the EP Transport Committee debated the upcoming Commission proposal on flight and duty times for pilots and cabin crew. MEPs quizzed European Commission Aviation Director Matthew Baldwin about the new rules recommended by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). Although the Commission has yet to table an official proposal to put these rules into effect, some MEPs said they would exercise their right of veto if they do not guarantee that working conditions and passenger safety outweigh commercial considerations.