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Press release

New rules for flight-time limitations and rest periods

Transport - 05-07-2006 - 15:15
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Parliament adopted a second reading report on establishing harmonised technical provisions of aircraft engaged in commercial air transportation. These new provisions include, inter alia, flight and duty time limitations and rest requirements, instruments and equipment, communication and navigation equipment, maintenance and transport of dangerous goods by air.

In an adopted compromise amendment, tabled by EPP-ED, PES, ALDE and Greens/EFA, it was pointed out that the aim of this regulation is to provide harmonised safety standards of a high level, including in the field of flight and duty time limitations and rest periods. But in some Member States, collective labour agreements and/or legislation already exist which provide for better conditions as regards flight and duty time limitations and as regards working conditions for cabin crew.
MEPs stressed that nothing in this regulation should limit the possibility of concluding or retaining such agreements and that these Member States will be allowed to maintain legislation which contains more favourable provisions.
Flight and duty time limitations and rest periods
The maximum basic daily Flight Duty Period (FDP) is 13 hours, but can be extended by up to one hour. When a FDP starts at night (between 22:00h to 04:59h) the FDP is limited to a maximum of 11.45 hours. The minimum rest at "home base" shall be at least as long as the preceding duty period or at least 12 hours ("away from home", the minimum rest is at least 10 hours).
Parliament decided that, within two years after entry of the regulation (the Council had proposed three years) a scientific and medical evaluation of the provisions on flight and duty times limitations and rest requirements and, where relevant, of the provisions on cabin crews should be made.
Particular situation of express overnight cargo
The application of provisions regarding flight and duty time limitations can result in significant disruption of rosters for (in particular freight cargo) undertakings of which the operating models are exclusively based on night-time operation. Parliament demands that the Commission should, on the basis of evidence by the parties concerned, carry out an assessment and propose ad adjustment of the provisions regarding flight and duty time limitations to take account of these special operating models.
Harmonisation of cabin crew training
Finally, Parliament calls for the harmonisation of cabin crew training standards in order to create uniform, high standards. This should facilitate the free movement of cabin crew personnel within the Community. In this context the possibility of further harmonisation of cabin crew qualifications should be re-examined.  
REF.: 20060629IPR09378