Greek Cypriot pilots will today take part in a Europe-wide demonstration against proposed EU regulations on flight duty times but flights are not due to be affected.
The European Transport Workers’ Federation, which represents cabin crew members, and the European Cockpit Association (ECA), representing pilots’ unions, are organising a ‘walkout for aviation safety’, to press home their view that working hours for flight crews are lax.
Cyprus Airways pilots union, PASIPY said that today multiple hubs in Europe, including Larnaca will hold a series of events in which pilots and cabin crew will participate.
The union said the demonstrators would be distributing leaflets to passengers, while in Brussels, representatives of the European pilots would hand in the results of an online petition with almost 100,000 signatures to EU authorities.
“The new draft rules, which have been prepared by the European Aviation Security Service of EASA, unfortunately, allows airlines to engage in risky programming hours for flight crews,” PASIPY said in a statement.
“Crews, under these rules may be in continuous service for up to 20-22 hours. It will also allow flights of over 12 hours at night. Scientists have warned that the security risk increases considerably after 10 hours of night flying,” it added. The pilots want an 11-hour limit.
The pilots said EASA was bowing to the economic interests of the airlines over the safety of passengers.
“We can no longer remain silent in the hope that we will avoid a possible air tragedy,” said PASIPY. “These decision makers must take political responsibility and adopt rules that will effectively prevent air accidents due to fatigue.”
PASIPY members and flight attendants will be at Larnaca airport between the hours of 9am and 11.30am.
“We believe that informing travellers is to do our duty in sounding the alarm,” the union said.
This problem appears to be very widespread, the ‘Daily Mail ‘ on 19th Jan reported that more than four in ten British pilots admit to having fallen asleep at the controls of a passenger jet, according to a new survey.
Between 43 per cent and 54 per cent of pilots surveyed in the UK, Norway and Sweden said they had fallen asleep ‘involuntarily’ while flying.
A third of these said they had even woken to find their co-pilot was also asleep. Around 6,000 pilots in eight countries were surveyed for a ‘fatigue barometer’ by staff associations affiliated to the European Cockpit Association (ECA).