Since the Convention on International Civil Aviation, also known as the 1944 Chicago Convention, it has been recognised that pilot fatigue (resulting from long duty hours, insufficient rest/sleep opportunities etc.) can pose a risk to the safety of air operations.
The European Aviation Safety Authority (EASA) recently released its proposals for a new Flight Time Limitations scheme in the form of Comment Response Document 2012-14. Many aviation authorities have welcomed the introduction of urgently need policy improvements in this document. However, there has been criticism of provisions in the text that allow excessively long times on duty. There have also been suggestions that the EASA has ignored scientific evidence in several areas.
In 2011, the EASA commissioned three separate scientific reports, which concluded that flying at night should be limited to a flight duty of 10 hours, as anything above this would create critical levels of fatigue and hence a potential safety risk. Can the Commission explain why then the EASA has proposed that the limit should be 11 hours of flight duty at night?
In these scientific reports it was unanimously concluded that extensions should not be included in a Flight Time Limitations scheme, despite which the new EASA proposal would allow for a one-hour extension twice a week for duties starting between 6.15 and 19.00. Can the Commission state why the scientific evidence has been overlooked by the EASA in drawing up its proposal?
The EASA is legally required to base its Flight Time Limitations rules on scientific and medical evidence. Can the Commission confirm that this has taken place?