New pilot-fatigue rules criticized

Eleanor Steed
By Eleanor Steed July 5, 2017 14:46

New pilot-fatigue rules criticized

In Canada, new rules to combat airline pilot fatigue have been criticised by unions and airlines that are predicting an expensive pilot shortage and shortcomings on safety.

The proposed federal regulations would cut the number of consecutive hours pilots are allowed to fly from 14 to between nine and 13, depending on what time of day the flight takes off. The regulations would also increase the amount of rest time pilots must take between flights and reduce the annual number of hours pilots can fly to 1,000 from 1,200, bringing Canada more in line with international aviation standards.

“Pilots, who are responsible for safe operations, face long workdays, often during night time or early morning hours. Working multiple long duty days consecutively without adequate rest and restoration will degrade human performance over time,” Transport Canada said.

Transport Canada estimates the changes will cost airlines about $338-million over the next 15 years, “mainly due to the changes to flight crew scheduling requirements.”

“We’re already facing a shortage of pilots in this country, and this is going to be pushing it even further,” said John McKenna, president of the Air Transport Association of Canada, an industry lobby group that represents 35 airlines. “That could have safety impacts if … airlines are pushing to train people maybe faster than they should.”

Eleanor Steed
By Eleanor Steed July 5, 2017 14:46