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Euro-MPs to vote on pilots' hours

Source BBC News@

Airliner at sunsetIf MEPs vote in favour, the changes to the rules will be introduced EU-wide in 2015

Changes to rules governing European pilots' working hours are to be put to a vote of Euro-MPs later.

The European Union says it wants to tighten and standardise time limits for flying which currently differ between member states.

The UK pilots' union Balpa says the new rules could see more pilots suffering fatigue, putting safety at risk.

Pilots claim the new limits are longer than currently exist in the UK, which the European Commission denies.

Last week, a survey by Balpa suggested more than half of pilots had fallen asleep while in charge of an aircraft.

The European Parliament will vote on the changes, which have sparked a row about safety and how best to reduce pilot fatigue, on Monday.

Pilot support

The European Commission said the legislation would ensure airlines operated the same flying rules across Europe, and flight time limits would be lowered.

But Balpa said there were problems with the proposals, including loopholes that could mean British aircrews end up flying for longer with more risk of pilots falling asleep at the controls.

An EU official said the union was distorting the plans to make flight times appear longer in order to push for even lower limits.

The UK government and Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) have backed the changes.

But support for the pilots' case has come from Commons Transport Committee chairwoman Louise Ellman.

If MEPs vote in favour, the changes will be introduced in 2015.

Isolated incident

The new rules include allowing pilots to land aircraft after being awake for 22 hours, as well as being able to work seven early starts in a row rather than the current three.

Balpa wants the European Parliament to back a motion requiring the European Commission to have the proposals scrutinised by scientific and medical experts.

In the Balpa poll of 500 commercial pilots, 56% admitted sleeping and 29% said they had woken up to find the other pilot asleep as well.

The survey came after it emerged two pilots on an Airbus passenger plane were asleep at the same time while the aircraft was flying on autopilot.

The CAA said the incident on 13 August was an isolated one.

Đăng ký: Tieng Anh Vui

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