Pilots lose battle against 'unsafe' pilot hours
on 09/10/2013 14:55:51
MEPs voted on proposals by the European Commission to tighten and standardise flight time limits for pilots across the European Union.
Pilots unions, including the Irish pilots body IALPA, say the new rules will actually increase the amount of time pilots have to fly in some member states.
The European Commission argues the unions are distorting the proposal to make flight times seem longer than they are, in order to push for even lower limits.
Last week the European Parliament's transport committee voted by 21-13 to reject the EU plans.
But IALPA said that today the full European Parliament had voted not to confirm the committee's decision.
This means the rules can now be implemented, unless the EU Council of Ministers decides to discuss and vote on them to confirm the rejection.
IALPA has said the new rules could mean pilots landing planes after being on duty for as long as 22 hours.
Details of extreme fatigue among cockpit crew have been published recently by some unions.
The European Regions Airline Association (ERA) welcomed the MEPs' decision, which it said had been passed by 387 votes to 218, with 66 abstentions.
ERA's director general Simon McNamara said: "It is excellent news that MEPs have based their decision to endorse the proposal on the grounds of a robust three-year consultation process by the European Aviation Safety Agency."