Safety concerns ignored, as MEPs clear proposals on longer EU flight times
The European Parliament today voted to support proposals from the European Commission, revising EU rules on flight times. The Greens had proposed to reject the new rules due to concerns the Commission's draft would lead to an increase in flight times and more strenuous working conditions for pilots, with the safety risks this entails. Commenting after the vote, Green transport spokespersons Michael Cramer and Eva Lichtenberger said:
"A majority of MEPs has today voted to ignore major safety concerns by giving the go-ahead to these ill-judged proposals from the Commission. There are serious concerns about the implications of the Commission's proposal for pilots and cockpit personnel and ignoring these concerns will put lives at risk. The cobbled together assurances from the Commission on monitoring the situation do nothing to allay these concerns.
"The Commission is proposing to allow pilots to land aircraft after being awake for 22 hours, as well as to allow pilots to work seven early starts in a row rather than the current three. With well-documented cases of overworked, exhausted pilots falling asleep in the cockpit, it boggles belief that the Commission wants to make them fly under even more stressful conditions. Major concerns have been raised by pilots' unions and other stakeholders and we seriously regret the failure of MEPs to heed these warnings."