An undisclosed judicial inquiry report, obtained by the French news magazine Le Point cites pilot fatigue as contributing factor to the Air France Flight 447 accident, considered one of the worst aviation accidents in history. The AF 447 crash happened on 1 June 2009 during a night flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris-Charles de Gaulle and cost the lives of all 228 people on board of the aircraft.


With simultaneous demonstrations at airports in more than 18 countries, distribution of flyers and media engagement, air crews demanded swift action from EU policy-makers and national Transport Ministers to amend the proposed flight time limitations.


Pilots and cabin crew across Europe rang the alarm bell against the new European flight duty time rules. Under the motto ‘Walkout for Safety’ the action included simultaneous demonstrations at major European airports, handing over of a Safety Petition with over 100.000 signatures to the EU institutions in Brussels, flash mobs, awareness-raising actions for passengers and engagement with the press.


10 days ahead of the EU-wide ‘Walkout for Safety’ action day ECA launched its 4th campaign video for safe, science-based Flight Time Limitation rules. Starring Captain Dead Tired and a flock of goose, the video highlights the safety risks associated with the EU’s latest proposal for flight time rules: dead-tired pilots and cabin crew; – and calls upon the public to support the Safety Petition at

Watch the video here


Pilots and cabin crew will hold parallel walkouts and rallies across Europe calling on European politicians to take steps and put passenger safety before the commercial interests of the airlines. Steered by their professional responsibility to safeguard passenger safety and ensure safe flight operations, aircrews are mobilizing for a ‘Walkout for Safety’ on 22 January 2013.


“A tired pilot is a dangerous pilot. EASA’s rules fail to address this.”


Today, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) published its final proposal for new Flight Time Limitations (FTL) for pilots and cabin crew. In its current form the proposal will jeopardise flight safety and have significant consequences for Europe’s passengers.

Despite repeated calls for safe and science-based FTL rules to prevent air crew fatigue from endangering flight safety, EASA and the EU Commission are opting for a text that addresses the airlines’ commercial needs, but fails to protect passenger safety.


A survey carried out by Linz University among over 420 Austrian commercial airline pilots reveals that pilot fatigue is a reality in today’s airline operations. During the past 2 years, 85% of pilots have been in the cockpit while actually being too fatigued to fly the plane, with two thirds having experienced this more than once. One third of pilots reported having fallen asleep at the controls of the aircraft – without having agreed this with their colleague – 50% of whom did so more than once.


Today, the European Cockpit Association released a video on the safety concerns related to the forthcoming EU rules which are supposed to protect Europe’s air passengers against the safety risks associated with air crew fatigue. These concerns were at the center of a demonstration of over 300 pilots and cabin crew from across Europe, in front of the European regulator (EASA) in Cologne, on 14 May 2012. Their message: put passenger safety first.