Flight times and pilot safety
MEPs vote to ground proposals on longer EU flight times
The European Parliament's transport committee today voted to reject proposals from the European Commission, revising EU rules on flight times. The Greens had proposed the objection 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 that entails. Commenting after the vote, Green transport spokespersons Michael Cramer and Eva Lichtenberger said:
"The EP's transport committee has voted to ground these ill-judged proposals from the Commission. We now hope the proposed rejection will be supported by a majority of MEPs when the plenary votes as a whole.
"There are serious concerns about the implications of the Commission's proposal for pilots and cockpit personnel, both in terms of employment rights and the safety risks associated with longer flight times and more stressful flying schedules. Ignoring these concerns will put lives at risk.
"The draft legislative act includes provisions allowing 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. There are already well-documented cases of overworked, exhausted pilots falling asleep in the cockpit, so it is incredible that the Commission wants to make them fly even longer. Major concerns have been raised by pilots' unions and other stakeholders and we hope the EP as whole recognises these concerns and sends the Commission back to the drawing-board."