The UK’s major pilots union has hit out at new European Union flying rules which it claims will reduce safety levels.

BALPA, which represents 80 per cent of British pilots, has lodged a formal complaint to the European Ombudsman over the changes being implemented by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

The union said that the new rules, which are designed to harmonise regulations across Europe, could lead to situations where pilots who have been awake for up to 22 hours will have to land aircraft.

BALPA said a survey it commissioned showed that 89 per cent of the UK public would be concerned about the impact of these new rules.

Jim McAuslan, BALPA’s general secretary, said: “The British public are understandably concerned about their pilots being awake for 22 hours before landing a plane under new EU rules. Evidence shows this is similar to being four times over the legal alcohol limit for flying.
“The time is running out for our ministers, MEPs, the UK regulator and MPs to take urgent action and reject these unsafe EU rules to ensure that the skies above Britain remain among the safest in the world.”

MEPs are due to vote on the new proposals for flight time limitations in October.

“British pilots believe that they have been let down by the UK government and the UK regulator responsible for keeping our skies safe,” said BALPA in a statement.

“The CAA has totally failed in its duty to stand up for UK safety levels by not insisting upon a full scientific evaluation of the proposals and is backing there being no scientific evidence to support them.”



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