Wednesday 22 November 2017

More than half of airline pilots are flying while fatigued

More than half of Europe’s airline pilots are flying jets while fatigued, a new report claims. Photo: PA
More than half of Europe’s airline pilots are flying jets while fatigued, a new report claims. Photo: PA
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

More than half of Europe's airline pilots are flying jets while fatigued, a new report claims.

The same report found that low-cost and cargo airlines had a higher percentage of tired pilots than legacy carriers.

The study by the London School of Economics and international air traffic management organisation Eurocontrol involved surveys of 7,239 pilots across Europe.

Just 39pc of them believed they received adequate training when new systems and procedures were introduced.

Only 37pc had a high degree of trust in their airlines' management regarding safety.

The study also found that half the pilots questioned felt that fatigue was not taken seriously within their organisation, and less than 20pc said their company cared about their well-being.

Of the pilots surveyed, 230, or 3.2pc, were based in Ireland.

Nearly 11pc were in the UK and 7.7pc in France.

Nearly 7.5pc were based in Switzerland, 7.3pc in Spain and more than 8pc in The Netherlands.

The pilots who responded represented about 14pc of Europe's commercial pilots, and the study was the largest ever of its kind.

"Overall, perceptions of safety culture amongst pilots working in Europe were favourable, although differences were found according to the contracts and companies pilots worked for," the authors of the report said.

They added that two areas stood out in their findings - fatigue and organisational support.

"This latter dimension refers to the workforce feeling tired and to how fatigue is managed by the company, and human factors research has systematically shown how fatigue has the potential to impact upon operational safety in many industries," the authors said.

"In general, those at low-cost and cargo companies, and on atypical contracts, tended to view safety culture least positively."

Irish Independent

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