After a firm rejection in the EU Parliament Transport Committee, the flawed EU Commission proposal for Flight Time rules for pilots and cabin crew will be put to a vote at the next EP Plenary meeting. On 9 October mid-day, a vote by all Parliament Members in Strasbourg will determine whether the safety loopholes contained in that proposal will become official EU-wide legislation and allow air crew to be landing after 22 hours awake, or flying 11-12hrs30 through the night.
“The vote this Monday by the EU Transport Committee members should indicate the direction to their colleagues next Wednesday,” says François Ballestero, ETF Political Secretary for Aviation. “The firm rejection shows that the safety loopholes of the regulation have not passed unnoticed by the Parliamentarians, who work daily to make Europe’s transport safer. Their voice for a harmonization at the highest safety level should not be ignored.”
“We welcome the opportunity for a debate the evening before to the vote,” says Nico Voorbach, European Cockpit Association President. “Perhaps then we can receive the long-waited answers why the EU Commission is reluctant to propose science-based flight time rules. We also expect a clear answer why, despite the Transport Committee vote, the EU Commission has shown no commitment to undertake changes to the proposal before the EP Plenary vote? Limiting night flights to 10 hours – as scientists have repeatedly recommended – as the safe limit is an absolute must.”
Elisabetta Chicca, Chair of ETF Cabin Crew Committee adds: “Adopting these rules now, knowing that there is little consideration for fatigue as daily concern in cabin crew work onboard of an aircraft, and without a cap of 18 hours on combined standby and flight duty, is not the way forward.”
Commenting on the next week’s vote, ECA Secretary General, Philip von Schöppenthau, says: “Would you sign a contract if your future boss has blackened out the ‘Terms and conditions’ section? Probably you won’t. How can the Commission then expect Parliamentarians to rubberstamp a regulation, of which the important provisions are shifted in a document over which they have no view or say? Parliamentarians cannot turn a blind eye on this rather intransparent ‘arrangement’.”
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Note to editors: ECA is the representative body of European pilot associations, representing over 38.000 pilots from across Europe. Website: www.eurocockpit.be & www.dead-tired.eu