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Dublin: -2°C Monday 17 January 2022
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Pilots' hours to be limited in new EU law

European safety agency puts forward plans to cap pilot’s duty hours – that’s both flying and waiting time – to a maximum of 14 hours a day, or 12 at night. Pilots’ unions say that is still an exhausting schedule.

NEW EUROPE-WIDE legislation may be introduced that will put a limit on the number of hours commercial pilots can fly.

The European Aviation Safety Agency has put forward the rules to standardise current national regulations, according to the Press Association. The rules will mean pilots can only be scheduled to be on duty – that includes both time in the cockpit flying, and also waiting to fly – for no more than 14 hours in a day, and 12 hours at night.

The Irish Aviation Authority goes by the general rule of 900 hours flying time per year in total for pilots and no more than 1,800 hours of duty per year. The UK authorities are specific about pilots not being allowed on duty for more than 9 hours a day. However, the limit tends to be much higher elsewhere in Europe. The EASA says that their proposal will first have to be submitted to the airlines, to pilots’ unions and air safety groups before they hand a final draft to the EU next year for ratification.

However, a major pilots’ association last night said that the work hours being proposed were still excessive. The European Cockpit Association said that s study into pilot fatigue recommends no more than 10 hours of night-time duty, and no more than 12 during the day.

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