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Pilot Exhaustion - Inadequate Safety Supervision

A recent report by aviation consultancy Baines Simmons revealed revelations about fatigue management within European airlines. Based on a survey encompassing 6,900 European pilots from 31 countries, alarming indicators highlight a critical fatigue risk mismanagement scenario, particularly among airlines in Ireland, Malta, Spain, and the UK.

 

Ahead of the bustling summer period, the report underscores concerning trends. An overwhelming 75% of pilots experienced microsleeps during flights in the last four weeks, while 73% reported inadequate rest between duties. Alarmingly, nearly 20% extended flight duties under the Commander’s Discretion, with over 60% expressing concerns about repercussions if they refused.

 

ECA President Otjan de Bruijn expressed worry, noting the evident lapses in fatigue safety management across many European airlines. This follows just after EASA’s caution regarding increased aircrew fatigue during summer, emphasizing sufficient planning without undue reliance on pilots to extend duties.

 

The report signals a stark reality – only 10-13% of pilots observe effective fatigue reporting systems in their airlines, a concerning inefficiency impacting safety measures. Additionally, airlines in Ireland, Malta, Spain, and the UK consistently scored lower in fatigue management, raising substantial concerns about regulatory oversight and operational practices.

 

Philip von Schöppenthau, ECA Secretary General, highlighted the urgency for deeper investigations by authorities, especially concerning the performance of airlines under their purview. The report intends to enhance fatigue risk management, urging European and national regulators, including EASA, to scrutinize and take decisive actions to fortify fatigue reporting systems and safety protocols.

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