Countdown for New EU Pilot Fatigue Rules Starts

On 18 Feb. 2016 latest, one year from today, all European airlines will have to apply new Flight Time Limitations (FTL) for their pilots and cabin crew, in line with the FTL rules developed by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). To mark the start of this countdown, pilot experts from ECA developed an online ‘EU FTL Calculator’. This new calculator – launched today – allows air crew, airlines, national authorities and other stakeholders to calculate their flight duty times under EASA’s new rules.

The EU FTL Calculator provides a concrete tool to establish the exact legal limits for individual flight duties, taking into account a variety of criteria, such as time-zone crossing, standby or extensions. It is a tool to break down the new EASA rules’ complexity and to apply them to real operations. At the same time it is there to raise awareness about air crew fatigue, and about the joint responsibility of air crew, airlines and national aviation authorities to prevent air crew fatigue from posing a threat to flight and passenger safety.

“EASA’s new pilot fatigue rules are a necessary and important safety net to ensure no single air operator starts to compete on the basis of safety, instead of its product and service” says Didier Moraine, Chairman of ECA’s FTL Working Group, initiator of the new calculator, and a pilot himself. “However, we must be aware that simply complying with these rules does not automatically mean your operation is safe. Instead in addition to rule compliance a sound Fatigue Risk Management (FRM) is required, allowing operators to proactively manage their crew fatigue-related risks in partnership with crew representatives, in a ‘Just Culture’ environment, and adequately overseen by the regulator.”

“Especially given the fact that truly science-based FTL still need to be achieved, when EASA reviews and revises its rules in 4 years’ time, mechanical rule compliance on its own is not sufficient” says Philip von Schöppenthau, Secretary General of ECA. “This is why Europe’s pilot community has defined the key prerequisites that Fatigue Risk Management(FRM) needs to meet to ensure that crew fatigue is managed in a proactive and effective manner.”

“Already today, crew fatigue is a reality in Europe’s cockpits, as our European survey among over 6.000 pilotshas shown” says Capt. Dirk Polloczek, ECA President. “All stakeholders must work together to make sure that this worrying situation ends, and that our passengers can trust that the pilots and cabin crew on board are fully alert.”

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For further information, please contact:

Philip von Schöppenthau, ECA Secretary General, Tel: +32 2 705 32 93

Capt. Dirk Polloczek, ECA President, 32 2 705 32 93

Kameliya Encheva, ECA Communications Officer, +32 490 411 203