Fears that airline flight crew would stage a mass walk-out across Europe today in protest over plans to change their flying time and rest periods appear unfounded as pilots and cabin crew decided against industrial action.
Instead, British pilots will present a dossier of evidence about pilot fatigue to 10 Downing Street, the CAA and the Department for Trade as part of the Europe-wide "walkout for safety" day. No strike action is planned.
The British Airline Pilots Association has already warned that as many as four out of 10 pilots have fallen asleep at the controls and it will tell the Government today that current proposals by the European Aviation Safety Agency to introduce the same working hours for pilots across the EU will make the situation even worse as they are more permissive than those already in place in the UK.
The European Cockpit Association (ECA), which organised the protest day, said flight crew would be taking similar action across the Continent.
Pilots are opposing the adoption of new European rules for flight limitation and rest requirements, which they say will make flying less safe by relaxing the stringent rules that already exist.
However, the Association of European Airlines, the European Regions Airline Association and the International Air Carrier Association insist that the proposed changes do not represent a relaxation of existing rules.
They claim the new rules bring all countries into line on flight limitation requirements and even include some new and more restrictive requirements.
By Linsey McNeill
Tuesday, January 22, 2013