Call for an instant quote
0345 90 80 161
Open Mon to Fri 09:00 - 17:30 | Sat 09:00 - 16:00 (GMT)
10 October 2013 09:19
More than half of pilots have already fallen asleep in the cockpit before, according to a poll
Pilots and MPs have voiced their concern over proposals for new flying-hour regulations for cockpit crews which could be adopted by the European Parliament on Wednesday.
The British pilots' association Balpa has sharply criticised the proposals, arguing that they could mean pilots would be allowed to land a plane after being awake for 22 hours, and The House of Commons Transport Committee has also expressed its concern.
However, UK ministers and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) have backed the plans.
The proposals were rejected by the EU transport committee last week but pilots now fear the European Commission (EC) might still push them through this week, at a time when many MEPs have already left ahead of a recess.
Balpa said the new rules would make flying unsafe - a warning which could prompt more people to take out
travel insurance - after a recent poll found more than half (56%) of pilots have already fallen asleep in the cockpit before.
The organisation has now sent case studies to the Government and the CAA.
A pilot in one of the cases said: "I was taking my turn of 40 minutes controlled rest, in the cruise, crossing the Atlantic on a night flight. I was woken after about 20 minutes by a warning sound from the aircraft.
"The captain was awoken at the same time as me. It appears that he had also fallen asleep at the same time, the pilot alert system had been ignored, and so the aircraft reacted to wake us up.
"I reckon I have had the 'nodding dog' feeling of being unable to keep my eyes open on at least five occasions."
Balpa general secretary Jim McAuslan said: "It is a scandal that the unelected and unaccountable EC can force through cuts to UK flight safety that have been rejected by MEPs on their own transport committee, UK MPs, pilots across Britain and Europe, scientists and the British flying public.
"British pilots are urging UK MEPs, the Government and Secretary of State for Transport to keep British skies safe for passengers and urge the commission to go back to the drawing board."
A CAA spokesman said: "Aviation safety is our number one priority. We think the proposed European flight-time limitation regulations would maintain the UK's current high safety levels, and will increase safety for UK passengers travelling on some other European airlines."
27 September 2016
Monarch Airlines says its flights are operating as normal amid fears the firm is in financial trouble.
24 September 2016
Slim people who look physically healthy may still be at increased chance of being diagnosed with bowel cancer if they have raised insulin levels, according new research.
23 September 2016
Theresa May is being urged to give the go-ahead for flights to resume between the UK and Sharm el-Sheikh by the head of the cross-party parliamentary group on Egypt.
22 September 2016
Budget airline Jet2.com is to open its first base in the south of England at Stansted.
21 September 2016
Smoking rates have dropped to the lowest level on record in England, new figures show, suggesting messages about the health effects of cigarettes are hitting home.
20 September 2016
Concerns have been raised over flight disruptions caused by heavy drinking among passengers.
17 September 2016
British Airways' decision to launch direct flights from London to Tehran earlier this month positions Iran as one of the hottest destinations to visit in 2017, according to experts.
16 September 2016
More than 100 flights have been cancelled as French air traffic controllers go on strike again.
15 September 2016
Two thirds of MPs would support an expansion at Heathrow.
14 September 2016
TripAdvisor is launching a new homepage, making the booking of holiday activities and tours even easier.
13 September 2016
Travellers are to be charged to use fast lanes to get through passport checks in an attempt to cut queues.
09 September 2016
People travelling to regions affected by the Zika virus outbreak should practise safe sex for at least half a year upon their return, health leaders say.