View Full Version : European Commission tightens up common safety rules for commercial aircraft

2nd Mar 2004, 21:51
Tuesday, February 17th, 2004

The Commission has adopted a draft regulation setting out operational rules for air carriers (EU OPS rules), including provisions regarding flight and rest times for aircraft crew members (FTL rules). "This new regulation will facilitate the necessary consensus between all the institutions to establish strict safety rules for all European commercial aircraft operations", said Loyola de Palacio, European Commission Vice-President responsible for energy and transport.

The new amended proposal for a regulation has two important new features:

A full set of rules has been added to the technical annex to limit flight times and regulate rest periods(1) for both cabin crews and pilots, incorporating the broad lines of an amendment voted for by the European Parliament. With the new Regulation, the maximum flight time will be limited to 13 hours per day and to 11 hours 45 minutes for night flights. This meets the concerns raised by the European Parliament(2), flight crew associations and airlines with regard to the lack of harmonised detailed rules for flight and duty times and rest periods for crews, particularly as regards air safety and aircraft accidents associated with fatigue. At the moment national requirements still apply.

Certain requirements have been included for cabin crews, as regards age, medical fitness, minimum training and certificates of professional competence. This will make it possible to guarantee a uniform level of safety.

At the time of preparation of the second package of measures to liberalise the air transport sector in 1989, the Council and the Commission agreed that Community air transport policy should also include harmonisation of the rules for civil aviation, in order to maintain a high standard of safety and ensure fair competition in the internal market. Accordingly the Community adopted a Regulation on the harmonisation of technical requirements and administrative procedures in the field of civil aviation,(3) designed to establish and update harmonised rules relating to the design, manufacture, operation and maintenance of aircraft and to persons and organisations involved in these tasks.

In 2000 the Commission presented to the Council a proposal for the amendment of this Regulation, aiming to include in it operational rules applicable to air carriers, based on the Joint Aviation Requirements (JAR)(4) drawn up by the Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA)(5).

After the first reading by Parliament, a further amendment to the Commission's proposal was adopted on 4 September 2002, containing provisions regarding flight and rest times for aircraft crew members.

Council and Parliament have not yet adopted the proposal, basically on account of the link that has been made with a proposal for a Directive on the recognition of the qualifications of cabin crew.(6)

It is nevertheless important that Member States share the same operational rules in a liberalised aviation market in order to ensure fair competition between air carriers and higher standards of air safety.

(1)Report A5-0263/2002 of 10.07.2002.

(2)Report A5-0263/2002 of 10.07.2002.

(3)OJ L 373, 31.12.1991, p. 4, as last amended by Commission Regulation (EC) No 2871/2000 (OJ L 333, 29.12.2000, p. 47).

(4)JAR-OPS 1, adopted by the JAA in 1995, covers commercial operations, i.e. the carriage of passengers or cargo for remuneration or hire, by aeroplane.

(5)The Joint Aviation Authorities are associations of the national aviation authorities of 37 European countries including the 15 Member States of the European Union, created for the purpose of harmonising the requirements for which they were set up in order to regulate aviation safety.

(6)COM(97) 382 final, 22.7.1997: Proposal for a Council Directive on safety requirements and attestation of professional competence for cabin crews in civil aviation.

The European Commission


3rd Mar 2004, 21:49
Thank you Flyblue.
Very informative thread.