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Pilots have the support of the public over concerns about planned changes to the number of hours they are allowed to fly, their union has said.
A survey of more than 2,000 adults, commissioned by the British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa), suggested that nine out of 10 would be worried about being in an aircraft flown by a pilot who has been awake for 22 hours.
Balpa said proposed flying rules being voted on by MEPs in October would lead to pilots operating long haul flights with two rather than three crew members, working up to seven starts in a row and being awake for 22 hours if standby hours are taken into account.
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."
Last year a report by the Transport Select Committee also expressed concerns about the proposals.
“Even 17 hours of sustained wakefulness can produce performance deficits equivalent to that displayed when drunk,” it said. “Given that 43% of pilots report involuntarily falling asleep whilst working under the current regulatory regime, there is a clear risk that these proposals will invite further fatigue amongst aircrew.”
But the European Commission (EC) said safety was the only objective of its proposal to revise the current EU rules in relation to flight time limitations (FTL).
An EC spokesman said: "The Commission is determined to see stronger, safer rules applying across Europe in relation to FTL.
"This is the principle presiding the Commission's proposal to revise the current EU FTL rules.
"The Commission believes that the proposal presented to the Council and the Parliament in July will bring about major improvements across Europe for the safety of our citizens and flight crew.
"This proposal includes a number of clarifications and adjustments addressing issues identified by aircrew unions, by airlines, by the European Parliament, and by Member States.
"The proposal will not result in lowering the safety standards in any Member State."
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