22 January: Across Europe pilots and cabin crews ‘walk out’ for passenger safety

22/01/2013

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.

“The rules drafted by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) are a blow in the face of Europe’s air crews and passengers,” stated Nico Voorbach, ECA President. “The new rules will allow airlines to carry out dangerous flight schedules. Air crews can be on duty for 20-22 hours. And they will be asked to fly over 12-hours throughout the night, whilst scientists warn that safety risks increase significantly after 10 hrs at night.”

“EASA and the EU Commission have taken biased decisions privileging airline revenue over passenger safety”, said François Ballestero, ETF Political Secretary for Aviation. “This ‘Walkout’ is a signal that air crews are ready to say ‘No’ when safety is compromised. We can no longer stay quiet and hope that disaster won’t strike home. Policy-makers need to take political responsibility and set rules to effectively prevent fatigue-related accidents.”

“The Safety of crews, passengers and citizens overflown by airplanes is at stake” stated Philip von Schöppenthau, ECA Secretary General. “We count on the national decision-makers and the European Parliament to amend these rules and to put safety back as the EU’s priority number one. The text as it stands is simply not acceptable.”

“In certain countries, aircrews will join the action day in a symbolic manner”, says Elisabetta Chicca, chair of the ETF Cabin Crew Committee. “Because of the precarious conditions in the employment market, national legal constraints, or fear of reprisals, they will carry out various other actions to express their concerns and to support their European colleagues.”

A detailed map with national actions is available on http://goo.gl/maps/UpUdR. For real-time updates and photos from the action day, visit www.eurocockpit.be

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For further information, please contact:
Nico Voorbach, ECA President, Tel: +32 491 378 982
Philip von Schöppenthau, ECA Secretary General, Tel: +32 2 705 32 93
François Ballestero, ETF Political Secretary for Aviation, Tel: +32- 474 91 69 79