How Subpart Q has been implemented in the UK
The UK CAA has reviewed our national CAP371 and taken advice from an advisory group (including industry, unions and medical personnel) covering all matters of flight time limitations (FTL). They have compared CAP371 with Subpart Q and believe the national rules sit within Subpart Q. Therefore if an operator meets the flight time limitations in CAP371 they will also comply with Subpart Q. As all UK operators have FTL schemes approved under CAP371, it follows that they also meet Subpart Q.
As CAP371 sits within Subpart Q no changes have been made to the UK's FTL scheme. Hence, there is no positive or negative outcome for the UK regarding implementation of Subpart Q. The good news for aviation safety is that the scientifically-driven high standards of CAP371 are maintained, rather than being downgraded to the lower, scientifically unproven safety limits of Subpart Q.
The implementation process in Luxembourg had not been very transparent as no working group has been established between the Authorities, operators and flight crews. However, the Luxembourg Civil Aviation Authority (DAC-L) recently clarified that the current Luxembourg law on FTLs and EC 1899/2006 would both apply with the most restrictive provisions to be followed. The DAC-L gave a clear position on the use of augmented crew in 2006 and this has not been changed.
One operator, to our knowledge, has amended their AOC approved by Bureau Veritas (serving as a contracting agency to the DAC-L) which derogates from Luxembourg's FTL. This has been accepted by the DAC-L which has caused some confusion. The operator is now derogating from the Luxembourg law specifically on the use of augmented crew operations.
Danish Implementation of Subpart Q
Supported by several politicians and the environmental advice council, DALPA, together with the Swedish and Norwegian pilot associations were fighting hard to keep the present very safe national legislation ("Points System") on FTL. A hostile atmosphere from the Danish CAA made this very difficult, and we did not succeed in maintaining our flight safety standards.
Together with some supplementary legislation on standby, long haul and split-duty, Subpart Q was implemented in Denmark on 16 July 2008. However, a revision made it possible for airlines to keep the old system until 1 January 2009 if they wish.
So far, very few problems have been reported from line pilots. This could be due to the fact that airlines may not have utilised the full negative potential of Subpart Q. This could change, once Subpart Q is applied by all airlines, as of 2009. We have no meetings arranged with the Danish CAA, but are looking forward to being able to use the result of EASA's scientific evaluation of Subpart Q.
Implementation of Subpart Q in France
Subpart Q required many adjustments to be applied in France. Four texts have been published since May 2007, creating many debates - in which pilots were not always included - and generating strong lobbying, particularly from the operators. Nowadays, the issue of short nights still remains one of the French pilots' main concerns. On several occasions, SNPL had to meet the French CAA and Minister of Transport to prevent the regression of safety compared to the previous French laws. Although Air France pilots are globally protected by collective labour agreements, in many other airlines, operators took much delay in implementing the new provisions of Subpart Q. The CAA has already granted several exemptions, postponing the deadline of implementation from a few days to several weeks. In France, we are clearly crossing a murky period during which transparency and guarantees on future safety are still difficult to obtain. The SNPL remains more vigilant than ever.
FTL Implementation in Czech Republic
The legislative process for implementing Subpart Q EU-OPS into national law was started very late - at the end of February 2008 in Czech Republic. CZALPA took part in a Working Group organised by the Czech Ministry of Transportation and attended a series of meetings. Existing State Regulation No. 466/2006 was completely revised and rewritten into a form fully compatible with EU-OPS - including provisions for all the "black holes". Because the existing national regulation had been prepared in 2004 already in view of the expected European legislative development, the number of changes in the text was not substantial. Now, the document is ready to be sent to the government for final approval. However, request for a major derogation is now expected, as there is a great effort by some operators to cancel the whole State Regulation. CZALPA is working to prevent this derogation with the help of three parliamentary commissions. We expect the final decision on the new State Regulation to be issued in autumn.
- Pavel Marecek, CZALPA
FTL Implementation in ITALY
The introduction in Italy of the new Subpart Q FTL requirements has been characterised by a lack of involvement of the professional pilots in the definitions of the so called "Black Holes" by the Italian CAA (ENAC).
It is only in February 2008 that it was possible to access to a new draft ENAC Regulations covering the "black holes" giving a chance the pilots to forward their comments.
ANPAC has a major concern related to "split duty" (never established in the previous national scheme) and the possibility to use it on every possible unplanned occasion. Fortunately, in the final edition of the ENAC regulations covering black holes, split duty has been limited to operations of airplanes with a seat configuration less than 20.
The approved version of the "black holes" in the ENAC Regulation was published only on 7 July, with a 60-day transition period for full compliance. Up to now, full implementation of the "black holes" is expected as of 13 September. But it is not known if airlines will take some of the rules to the court to delay their application or if they will request less stringent rules on issues like augmented crews, positioning or minimum rest. Currently, ENAC decided that Subpart Q provisions on positioning can be ignored until mid-September. Close monitoring of this situation will be necessary.
The implementation of EU OPS 1 Subpart Q in Germany
Late like in most EU Member States the implementation process started in July 2007. However, the German Transport Ministry (DoT) did invite all interested parties to participate in the process and to add their particular understanding of the new FDT regulation.
Thereafter the DoT drafted a supplement to EU OPS 1 Subpart Q (1. DV LuftBO) which not only addresses the unregulated areas ("black holes") as mentioned in Article 8 (4) of the preamble, but also other deficits of Subpart Q (EUQ); primarily the inadequate limitation of a single duty period.
Since then, the DoT as well as the German Aviation Authority (LBA) has fallen short in providing legally reliable support as to how specific issues of EUQ shall be understood. We observe a significant and widespread uncertainty in how to deal with the regulation in daily operation along with inadequate interpretation of EUQ by the LBA. Further, the national authorities seem to be willing to tolerate a delayed but limited implementation in regards to individual operators.
Implementation EU-OPS Subpart Q in The Netherlands
The Dutch legal FTL scheme that has now been replaced by Subpart Q was drafted in 1968. As it had not been changed much since that time, it was very outdated and by far the most permissive FTL scheme in Europe (e.g. up to 24 hours allowed).
The change to the European FTL scheme was welcomed by the Dutch pilots. The implementation process was started by the Dutch government commissioning a scientific research institute (TNO) to give science-based advice on how to fill in one of the "black holes" in the Subpart Q. Although this was a very promising start, in the end the government chose not to take on board any of the scientific advice that was given. Instead, the way the black holes were filled results again in one of the most permissive FTL schemes in Europe, albeit a better scheme then the previous one.
AEROPERS/SwissALPA statement about the introduction of EU-OPS in Switzerland
Although not part of the European Union, Switzerland will introduce EU-OPS on a national level by 1 October, i.e. two and a half months after the EU.
Unfortunately, the Swiss unions have not been involved in the process of filling the "black holes" delegated by the EU to the national CAAs. Nevertheless, FOCA (the Swiss CAA) directive on the implementation of EU-OPS, seems to be a reasonable proposal as it states that it will not lower the safety levels of the preceding national legislation. However, some issues remain, i.e. the less protective rest period, missing additional rest requirements after duty in different time zones, and the lack of a limitation of block hours within a three-month period.
In late August 2008, the largest Swiss pilot unions and FOCA will meet to discuss open items in order to be ready by October 1.
- Markus Rohrer, AEROPERS Vice President
The Spanish Subpart Q Experience
Spanish aviation stakeholders have been working since April 2007 on the implementation of Subpart Q. Unfortunately, we landed on 16 July with an "unexpected situation": regression from our FTL safety standards. As SEPLA had foreseen that, we decided to ask ECA to promote a meeting with our Transport Minister and DGAC.
During this meeting, which took place on the magic date of 16 July, the Deputy Transport Minister promised to reassess the situation and take corrective actions if necessary. In the mean time, the SEPLA national board unanimously decided "not to accept any kind of regression in FTL". This decision was communicated to the national authorities and public opinion by the media.
Finally, after two intensive weeks of conversations, the DGAC Director communicated on 30 July in a newsletter to all stakeholders that Subpart Q is fully implemented without any regression on FTL. In addition, the Deputy Minister formally reiterated to SEPLA that they will consider available scientific knowledge and best safety practices in the future FTL regulations, keeping in mind that safety regressions in FTL are not an option to fight against the financial crisis in aviation.
SEPLA is currently commenting on the draft Royal Decree related to Subpart Q "black holes", supported by scientific knowledge and best safety practices. SEPLA is looking forward to a future Royal Decree, that improves present risky practices on standby, split duty, reduced rest, additional rest for time zone crossing, and FDP augmentation by in flight rest.
Implementation of Subpart Q in Norway
Subpart Q was implemented in Norway July the 16. To our knowledge only 2 companies have been granted a 2-month postponement for implementation from the Norwegian CAA.
But, as the process of Subpart Q dragged on for years it became obvious that it would not be as restrictive as the Scandinavian rules, which - until July - provided for high safety levels. NF also expected that sooner or later Subpart Q would supersede our rules. Thus most of the Norwegian pilot unions played it safe and negotiated much of the stricter Scandinavian rules into their CLAs. As a consequence the implementation of Subpart Q initially means that we only get the parts of Subpart Q that are stricter than the CLA rules, mainly the rest periods on and away from base.
Only when the CLAs have to be renegotiated in the coming years the pressure will come to reduce our higher safety standards down to Subpart Q level with the argument to be competitive with the other European airlines. Mainly this means changes to the FDP limits and the programming. So the current implementation of the new rules does not make a big difference. It will be a while until we see the whole effect of Subpart Q in Norway.
- Alf Tollefsen, Vice-president NF
In 2003 the Belgian CAA (BCAA) wanted to anticipate the "Simpson proposal" from the European Parliament and new FTL rules were elaborated in cooperation with the operators and the BeCA. However, as the Simpson proposal ran into political difficulties, the project was put on hold.
In 2007, the BCAA relaunched the process again, coming up with a "light" version of the 2003 proposal. They asked all involved stakeholders to make comments and we elaborated 10 detailed NPAs (Notice of Proposed Amendment). However, only a few of our comments were taken into account and after a difficult meeting, attended by BCAA, BeCA and all the operators, the final draft FTL legislation was proposed. This text allowed extremely dangerous duties going up to 24 hours by combining augmented crew, split duty, extensions, etc.
Having assessed those rules in detail, we came up with examples of what kind of unsafe operations would be possible under the proposed FTL legislation. After a further meeting with the Director of the BCAA, we were given the opportunity to explain our concerns. It was only then that the BeCA and the BCAA could tackle the main problems with common sense. As a result, the newly published Belgian legislation implementing Subpart Q is for us about 80% satisfactory. Given the difficult circumstances, this is quite a satisfying result and we do not observe any major safety regression in the new FTL legislation.