BALPA warns UK pilots pushed to limit to keep up with summer schedules
The British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA) alleges that UK pilots are being pushed to their limits due to demanding flight schedules, inattentive control over their hours of duty, and a failure to recruit a sufficient number of pilots to meet this year’s summer demand.
After the members have highlighted some of the demanding routes that they have to fly during this peak period, which stretches across July and August, BALPA is currently analysing the routes that could cause serious fatigue and intends to work with airlines and the UK's Civil Aviation Authority to challenge these duties.
BALPA notes that this move is intended to prevent already tired pilots from becoming dangerously exhausted.
BALPA general secretary Brian Strutton said: “Summer holidays are understandably a very busy time in aviation and pilots are working incredibly hard to ensure passengers get to their destinations without delays or cancellations.
“Pilots want their companies to be successful and profitable and are putting in the hard work to keep up with summer demand. But no-one wants pilots at the controls when they are tired.
“That’s why we are campaigning across the aviation industry to make sure the pilot duty time rules are properly adhered to so that pilots get the rest they need.”
Many airlines are finding it difficult to recruit staff for their flights, which subsequently leaves minimal flexibility in the system, thereby stretching the pilots to their limits to contend with summer demand.
It has also been found that increasing numbers of pilots are opting for part-time work or have become long-term sick due to fatigue and ‘burnout’ caused by inadequate rest and unworkable patterns of duty.
The problems faced by the pilots could lead to disruption in summer flights.
On 21 July, a record of more than 8,800 flights left or entered the UK airspace.