The EU fly in the face of wisdom by attempting to create tired pilots with French-driven regs

Friday, September 27 2013

West Midlands MEP Mike Nattrass is set to meet pilots at the European Parliament ahead of a crucial vote which could force through French-driven rules which could jeopardise air travel safety.

Mike has joined forces with the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) to wage a concerted campaign against the proposed new EU regulations which will dilute existing UK standards and legally allow pilots to land their aircraft 22 hours after they woke for the day.

On September 30th, members of the EU’s Transport & Tourism Committee are set to meet in Brussels to vote on the new standards which could lead to increased levels of fatigue for hard-working pilots.

The interference comes despite the publication of a new poll of 500 commercial pilots conducted by ComRes on behalf of BALPA which found that:

  • • 56% of pilots admit to having fallen asleep on the flight deck and, even more worryingly, of those who admitted this nearly 1 in 3 said they woke to find the other pilot asleep.
  • • 43% said they believed their abilities have been compromised in the last month by fatigue (with 84% saying it has been compromised during the past 6 months).
  • • 31% don’t believe their airline has a culture that lends itself to reporting fatigue concerns with only a half saying they believed their CEO would back them if they refused to fly because of fatigue.
  • • Unprompted, 49% said fatigue was the biggest threat to flight safety, three times more than any other threat, and
  • • Nine out of ten pilots put it as the number one priority for BALPA.

Mike Nattrass MEP, who is a member of the EU Transport & Tourism Committee, said: “The findings of the ComRes study shows these new EU regulations would really fly in the face of common sense and could jeopardise public safety.

“The UK’s stricter regulations should remain in place. Safety should be a paramount concern.

“Worryingly these EU rules give new powers to the European Commission allowing more changes without democratic scrutiny.

“I will vote against these French-driven rules. The Coalition Government should stand up to Brussels and put passenger and pilot safety first.”

Jim McAuslan, General Secretary of BALPA, said: “It is about safety and if these rules are passed they will lead to increased levels of fatigue which is shown as a major contributory factor in air accidents.

“The responsibility for putting passengers’ lives at risk lies primarily with the European regulator. But, the UK Government is not beyond reproach.

“At the Conservative Party conference next week there will be talk of repatriating decision-making from Europe, yet a European regulator that lacks scientific and medical expertise is being allowed to tear up UK rules and is being supported in this by a UK Conservative Government Minister.

“Why this Government is bending the knee to Europe rather than the wisdom of the piloting profession with over 40 million flying hours experience is as baffling as it is dangerous,”

Mike Nattrass MEP said: “I totally agree with the warnings from Jim and will be happy to support the pilots in this common sense fight for safety.”