July 6, 2017

Crew Rest Regs Draw Criticism


It would appear no one is happy with proposed new crew rest requirements announced by the federal government in a Friday-before-the-long-weekend release June 30.

Airlines and charter operators are saying the new rules will raise costs and make the burgeoning pilot shortage even worse.

Pilot unions are saying the measures don’t go far enough to address what they consider to be a serious problem for Canadian commercial pilots.

The proposed rules were included in the June 30 edition of the Canada Gazette and the public will have until Sept. 29 to comment.

In general, the new rules will decrease maximum daily flight hours from 14 to between nine and 13, depending on when those hours are flown. The annual number of hours pilots will be allowed to fly will be reduced from 1,200 to 1,000, the ICAO standard.

“Pilots, who are responsible for safe operations, face long workdays, often during night time or early morning hours. Working multiple long duty days consecutively without adequate rest and restoration will degrade human performance over time,” Transport Canada wrote in the Canada Gazette entry.

TC also admits the changes will cost operators $338 million over the next 15 years but claims that will be offset by $314 million in savings from prevented accidents.

The Air Transport Association of Canada says the changes will make it even harder for companies to hire pilots. “We’re already facing a shortage of pilots in this country, and this is going to be pushing it even further,” President John McKenna told the Globe and Mail.

Milt Isaacs, CEO of the Air Canada Pilots Association told the Globe the new rules will give pilots longer work days and nights than recommended in a detailed NASA study of the issue.

“…the government has ignored facts and science … in favour of regulations that favour operator commercial concerns.”