Some members of the European Parliament see commercial concerns outweighing safe working conditions in the European Aviation Safety Agency’s proposed rules on flight and duty time limitations and rest requirements and have left open the door for a veto of the program.
The Parliament recently asked European Commission Aviation Director Matthew Baldwin for further clarification about the new rules regarding stand-by, turnaround and on-call times. They also pointed out that U.S. rules call for a nine-hour duty limit during the night, but the European proposal caps the limit at 11 hours.
The agency proposed the amendments to current EU rules after three years of scientific study and public input. The 30 new rules include limits on how often pilots can fly, increased rest to compensate for disruptive schedules and a prolonged rest period twice a month.
The agency earlier said it anticipates EU adoption by the middle of the year, and a full rollout of the new requirements will be complete by the end of 2015. The commission hasn’t yet put out a proposal, but the Transportation Committee will hold a statkeholder hearing once that action is taken.
Last year, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration released new rest and fatigue guidelines for American pilots, making the rules mandatory for passenger pilots, but finding cargo carriers have the option to opt out of the new requirements because of the prohibitive cost of compliance. In February, the Independent Pilots Association found the FAA overstated its cost estimates and lobbied for cargo pilots to be included in the rule. - Jon Ross