British Pilots Fighting Rest Rules
New rest rules for pilots approved by the European Parliament Wednesday and now seeking approval of the EU Council of Ministers may face another hurdle -- BALPA, a British pilots union, says it is preparing a legal challenge, Express.co.uk reported Thursday. BALPA believes the new rules could create circumstances that would allow for pilots to land flights after 22 hours without a required rest period. The union is urging Britain's government to stop the EU-wide deal and that seems unlikely. The country's Department of Transportation and its aviation regulator, CAA, have publicly backed it. British pilots have already very publicly complained about fatigue problems they attribute to the existing standards.
Earlier this year, BALPA pilots were polled and 56 percent admitted they'd fallen asleep while flying an airliner while roughly 30 percent said they'd woken to find the other pilot asleep. In September, those figures were backed with the confession of two pilots who said they'd fallen asleep on the Aug. 13 Virgin Atlantic of a passenger-laden Airbus A330. The CAA has commented on the issue, saying, "We understand that BALPA are not happy with the proposals but we think overall it is a good package and not much different to what we have now."