Is passenger safety at risk after new EU regulations?

The EU’s top transport official has said that the safety of passengers might be at risk after the EU parliament rejected calls to change pilot’s flight and rest times.

Unions for pilots have already said that existing conditions could leave pilots tired and ‘dangerously fatigued’. Under the current rules, pilots can be landing planes after 22 hours without sleep.

Last week, the British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa) released a study which showed that more than half of the pilots questioned had fallen asleep in the cockpit. Worryingly, the report was commissioned after it came to light that both the pilot and co pilot had drifted off at the same time during an Airbus long haul flight.

The EU’s transport commissioner, Siim Kallas, said: “This vote puts at risk key measures to improve aviation safety – safety is the first priority for the EU and the sole objective of this revision.”

He added: “Pilot fatigue is a very serious issue and that’s why there are already strong EU rules in place. This proposal goes a step further bringing together the best safety practices from all EU member states and the latest scientific evidence.”

However, the parliament rejected the proposals and they will now be discussed and potentially amended before being put to the full vote at the EU parliament.

Currently in the UK, flying time is capped at ten hours but the new proposals would push this up to eleven, Balpa has suggested, while some crew members may have no limits at all on flying times.This is not exactly what you want to hear before getting on board a plane. Although it needs to be said that flying is still by far the safest form of travel. Wherever you are flying to, it is important that you should always take out travel insurance before you head off. This will ensure that you are protected for a range of scenarios you may face on your travels.

Date Created: 02 October 2013

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