Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Air Canada Pilots Association call on Canadian Government to fix unsafe pilot fatigue rules

In a bold move, the Air Canada Pilots Association have endorsed recommendations that have come from south of the border from the United States' National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) over pilot fatigue.

The ACPA is calling on the Government of Canada to fix what the association say are outdated fatigue regulations that risk passenger and pilot safety.  Captain Matt Hogan, Chair of ACPA's Master Elected Council said, "We thank the NTSB for their comprehensive review.  Their findings on fatigue underscore the many years of urgent calls by Canada's pilots for flight crew fatigue rules that are supported by science. The government's proposed rules fall short; they would allow Canadian pilots who begin their duty at 9 pm to operate two hours longer than NASA research recommends, and even longer than would be permitted in the United States. Canada's new fatigue rules must close this two-hour gap."

The NASA report says that maximum duty period at night should not exceed 10 hours, the Ames Research Centre and others conducted research that measured brain wave activity and micro-sleeps of pilots in actual flight operations at night. This informed NASA's recommendation of a maximum night duty of 10 hours of duty – or 8.5 hours of flight time – at night, requiring a relief pilot for longer duty periods. These NASA recommendations were not reflected in the draft regulations released by Transport Canada on July 1, 2017.

The ACPA has joined other pilot groups in calling on the Canadian government to stop years of delays and fix the flawed regulations, including by taking the following steps:

Address pilot fatigue on long-haul flights at night by limiting duty periods for flights in the evening to 8.5 hours of flight time – in line with NASA research findings;
Ensure that any Fatigue Risk Management System relies on science-based prescriptive limits as a foundation, requiring independently verifiable data and stringent Transport Canada approval and oversight before deviating from the maximum duty period; and,
Pilots on all sizes of aircraft – whether they carry passengers or cargo – should have the same protective fatigue limits, implemented at the same time.

The ACPA hasn't ruled out calling for industrial action if the calls to the Canadian Government to fix the regulations go unanswered.