CAA welcomes new pilot flying hours

Date: 01 October 2012

The UK’s aviation safety regulator today welcomed new EU rules that will standardise working hours for European airline pilots. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said the new rules will benefit UK passengers and will not compromise safety. The CAA said it was pleased that the EU’s final draft, published today, includes several additional changes requested by the regulator, such as a 16 hour cap on combined airport standby and flight duty, plus additional requirements for the management of night time flight duty.

The new ‘flight time limitations’ for pilots and cabin crew have been developed by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), the EU body now responsible for rule-making in areas of European aviation such as flight operations, airworthiness and licensing. It follows an extensive consultation period involving an array of aviation authority safety experts, scientists, airline associations and pilot and cabin crew union representatives.

Under the new system the CAA will have far greater access to airline information to help oversee fatigue management of airline crew members. High levels of reporting by airlines of their compliance with the new flight time limitations will be required. Enforcement action will be taken if necessary.

Gretchen Haskins, Director of Safety Regulation at the CAA, said: “Passenger safety is our number one priority, which we will never compromise. We are convinced that EASA’s flight time limitation regulations will improve accountability and transparency in the European aviation industry, maintaining the UK’s high safety levels and increasing safety for many UK travellers.”

The CAA said its endorsement of EASA’s flight time limitations was based on its extensive knowledge, operational oversight, research projects and engagement with scientists, adding that the new regime will provide a sound basis to maintain the UK’s current high safety levels.

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Notes to Editors:

1. EASA’s recommendations are expected to be adopted into EU law by mid 2013 and fully implemented by the middle of 2015.

2. The CAA is the UK's specialist aviation regulator. Its activities include: making sure that the aviation industry meets the highest technical and operational safety standards; preventing holidaymakers from being stranded abroad or losing money because of tour operator insolvency; planning and regulating all UK airspace; and regulating airports, air traffic services and airlines and providing advice on aviation policy from an economic standpoint.