September 30, 2013
Sinn Fein transport spokesperson, Dessie Ellis TD, has welcomed the decision by MEPs to reject the extension of maximum working hours for pilots.
Deputy Ellis said:
“I have met with pilots and members of the Irish Airline Pilots Association and it is clear that the conditions experienced by many pilots is not conducive to the observation of the best safety standards.
“If we were to make the job of pilots even harder by extending maximum flight hours I would have been very worried for the potential consequences. Pilots already work long hours, with large periods of on-call time, which dramatically damages their work-life balance.
“A UK study found an alarming 43% of pilots have fallen asleep at their flight deck. These plans could have seen pilots operating for 16 hours straight in a day shift. It is well documented that working hours of this length diminish greatly the ability of pilots to do their job and stay alert.
“We should not be playing with lives here. Any flight time policy should be based on conclusive research and, so far, that research shows pilots are already working longer hours than they should be. When you are transporting so many passengers safety must come before greater profit.”