Share It On

This page is part of an ECA archive on FTL. For more recent content, visit our campaign page on Pilot Fatigue.

Safety: a Passenger Right

The 1st and most fundamental right of every airline passenger it to have a safe flight.

When boarding a European airplane, passengers must be able to trust in the European legislator that they are protected by adequate safety legislation that does not ignore scientific evidence.

If there is evidence shows that current and proposed future EU safety legislation is not set at the highest, scientifically supported levels, passengers have the right to get this legislation changed.

Passengers have the right to expect that EU decision-makers put their safety before the commercial interest of the airlines. Safety must come first – always!

Pilots' Position

Representing over 38.000 professional airline pilots from 37 European countries, ECA has been a long-standing supporter of harmonised FTL rules across the EU. Harmonisation at the highest, scientifically derived safety level is required to keep European aviation safe, to protect passengers, and to help create an EU-wide level playing field.

As the need for changes to Europe’s FTL rules has been scientifically demonstrated – and has been reconfirmed by several expert reports between 2009-2013 – ECA insists that the EU’s current FTL rules are replaced by safe, science-based fatigue prevention rules.

EASA’s 3 proposals – the NPA, CRD and final Opinion – are not a credible basis for such rules. The Opinion, issued on 1 Oct. 2012, disregards decades of scientific evidence, including several studies commissioned by EASA itself, and is contrary to the precautionary principle. If not changed, the Opinion will reduce safety standards in many parts of Europe. (see ECA Press Release)

Therefore, the EASA Opinion must be substantially revised, be put on a solid medical and scientific basis, and aligned with the safety levels of existing state-of-the art FTL rules, best operational safety practices, and the precautionary principle.

America Acts on Pilot Fatigue

In December 2011, the US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) published new US Flight Time Limitations rules, to replace its outdated regulations by a set of modern, science-based fatigue prevention rules. While the final rule contains a number of significant changes compared to the FAA’s initial proposal (“Notice of Proposed Rulemaking” - NPRM) of 2010, it largely keeps the balance of the NPRM, which was largely based on scientific evidence and best operational practice.

This move came after pilot fatigue was identified as a key factor that contributed to the Colgan Air crash near Buffalo, which killed 50 people on 12 Feb. 2009. Since 1990, pilot fatigue has been has been on the "Most Wanted List" of the US National Transport Safety Board (NTSB).

However, the publication of the new US rules was preceded by a fierce battle with the airline industry. Since the FAA had put its NPRM onn the table, in Sept. 2010, US operators strongly lobbied against stricter science-based rules, alleging that they would cost them billions of dollars. The FAA, however calculated that the cost to the airline industry would be around $297 million, while the (safety) benefits are estimated between $247-$470 million.

"There are special interests who are holding this rule up because it's not in their financial self-interest," NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman said. "The American people expect safety to trump special interests, not the other way around." (quote from AP article)

Despite the FAA’s significantly lower cost calculations, US all-cargo operators succeeded in obtaining to be excluded from the new rules – despite the fact that pilots flying cargo planes are subject to the same physiological and body-clock constraints as pilots flying passenger planes.

However, the US political establishment resisted the pressure from other parts of the industry (e.g. charter operators), and instead backed the FAA in its defence of a comprehensive set of science-based rules. These rules will apply – as of Dec. 2013 – to all commercial passenger operations, which represents the very large majority of US operations.


-       FAA Fact Sheet on the new US rules

-       FAA Press Release

-       Final rule text (314 pages)

-       FAA Mandates Longer Rest Periods for Pilots

-       FAA finalises controversial pilot fatigue rules :

-       US ALPA Press Statement:

-      Regulators Delay Pilot-Fatigue Rules

-      ALPA Chief Pushing Hard for Pilot Fatigue Rule

-       WNY Delegation Push for Safer Skies

-       Link to ECA Press Release

-       FAA's proposed flight duty time rule 'directly imposes' responsibility on airlines

-       FAA to Propose New Fatigue Rules

-       FAA Boss Promises Action on Pilot Fatigue; More News

-       ECA Press Release "America Acts, EU Paralysed" (PDF)

-       US Aviation Regulatory Committee on FTL (PDF)

-       ALPA Commends FAA Action to Combat Pilot Fatigue

-       Reuters: U.S. to address pilot fatigue in wake of deadly crash

-       CNN: Pilot fatigue is like 'having too much to drink'

What The Media Say

TV reports on Pilot Fatigue



Experts: EU gambles with flight safety - Politiken (18 Oct 2013) (translation)

Airline pilots asleep in the cockpit during long-hault flight - The Telegraph (26 Sept 2013)

Public 'backs pilots' on work hours after it is revealed they could be awake for 22hrs - Daily Mail Online (26 Aug 2013 )

Wake-up call for pilot fatigue - Royal Aeronautical Society (05 April 2013)

Pilot fatigue 'commonplace' in Europe - The Parliament Magazine (09 November 2012)

Snore-tomatic pilot: Half of aircraft skippers have fallen asleep at the controls - The Mirror (09 November 2012)

Half of pilots fall asleep - Daily Express (09 November 2012)

Four in 10 British pilots have 'nodded off at the controls in mid-flight' - Daily Mail (09 November 2012)

4 of 5 pilots suffer from fatigue while flying - Di-Ve

Safety conflict at Europe's flight safety agency - DW (22 October 2012)

Extended pilot flight hours are dangerous - pilots' union - Times of Malta (05 October 2012)

EU 'will put lives at risk' with new live airline pilot rules - by ohn Ingham, Express (02 Octobre 2012)

New flying rules 'raise crash risk', say pilots - BBC News (01 October)

EU flying rules changes raise crash risk, say pilots - BBC News (01 October 2012)

Fears raised that pilots could 'nod off' during flights after ministers back new EU flying hours rules - Daily Mail (11 September 2012)

EU Rules For Pilot Hours Could Put Passengers At Risk, MPs Warn - Huffington Post (30 May 2012)

Passengers could be put at risk by EU plans to lengthen pilots’ hours - The Telegraph (30 May 2012)

Changes to pilots' flying hours could cause danger, say MPs - The Guardian (30 May 2012)

Safety 'risk' of new pilot hours - UK PA (30 May 2012)

Concern Over New Euro Rules On Flying Hours - Sky News (29 May 2012)

Tired pilots 'are risking safety' - BBC News (29 May 2012)

EU rules could 'put pilots at risk of dozing off in the cockpit while flying passenger planes' - Daily Mail Online (29 May 2012)

Longer Hours for pilots will raise conceerns for safety - The Irish Independent (14 April 2012)

Nearly HALF of all pilots have admitted that they have fallen asleep at the controls - Daily Mail (23 February 2012)

Pilots admit they 'nod off' – and their hours are set to soar - The Independant (23 February 2012)

Pilots on 14-hour shifts ‘more likely to crash’ - Metro (23 February 2012)

EU PILOT RULES ‘WILL PUT LIVES IN DANGER’ - Express (23 February 2012)

Pilots warn over ‘dangerous’ rules - Scotsman (23 February 2012)

Pilots admit they fall asleep in cockpit – and their hours are set to soar - The Belfast Telegraph (23 February 2012)

Pilots warn European flight-time changes ‘are a danger to public safety - Yorkshire Post (23 February 2012)

Air Passengers' Lives Will be Put at Risk, Pilots Warn - The Guardian (22 February 2012)

Over-tired pilots who fall asleep on duty - BBC News (22 February 2012)

Longer Flight Times Could Lead To Plane Crashes, Pilots Tell MPs - Huffington Post (22 February 2012)

EU flying hours could put passengers 'at risk', MPs told - The Telegraph (22 February 2012)

BALPA: Nearly Half Of Us Fall Asleep - AVweb (22 February 2012)

Flying on auto-pilot - China Daily (04 October 2011)

Flight 3407 families enlist lawmakers to pressure Obama on pilot-fatigue rules - By Keith Laing, The (04 October 2011)

Still waiting for air safety improvements - By Al Kamen, Washington Post (05 October 2011)

Airlines Put Profit Over Passenger Safety in Letter to White House - Digital Journal (06 October 2011)

Air Transport Association (ATA) Tells White House Airline Profit is More Important than Passenger Safety - By Jonathan Hodgson, News Junky Journal (07 October 2011)

Pilots warn on EU safety rules - (16 October 2011)

Swedish pilots "nodding off" at work - Radio Sweden (19 October 2011)

Half of Swedish pilots fall asleep in the cockpit - The Local (Sweden) (19 October 2011)

Half of Swedish pilots doze off in cockpit - (19 October 2011)

New EU rules could mean ‘drunk’ pilots - By Patrick Dewhurst, Cyprus Mail (25 October 2011)

No compromises on air safety, Minister stresses - Famagusta Gazette (25 October 2011)

The Union: ”Not uncommon that pilots fall asleep” - Svenska Dagbladet (Translation) (2 May 2011)

Doctors shocked over pilot fatigue - Edited by Julian Isherwood, Politiken (18 April 2011)

This is your captain sleeping: How exhausted pilots snooze at the controls (and two of them even had a nap at the same time) - By Ray Massey,  Daily Mail (7 April 2011)

Pilots 'fell asleep during flight' By Peter Woodman,  The Independent (7 April 2011)

Long-haul pilots fell asleep at controls - By David Millward, The Telegraph (7 April 2011)

One in five pilots 'suffers cockpit fatigue' -  By Richard Scott,  BBC News (6 April 2011)

EU Flight-Time Rules Endanger Passenger Lives, U.K. Pilots Say By Steve Rothwell,  Bloomberg (January 28 2011)

EU PLAN TO LET PILOTS FLY LONGER ‘PUTS LIVES AT RISK’By John Ingham,  Express (28 January 2011)

European ruling could cause pilots to suffer fatigue By Mark Ellis, Daily Mirror (28 January 2011)

Flight time limitations: ECA stands its ground - By Isabelle Smets, Europolitics (16 June 2011)

Fight Is Heating Up in Europe Over New Pilot-Fatigue Rules - By Andy Pasztor, The Wall Street Journal (17 June 2011)

When Are Pilots Safe to Fly? The Answer Is Still Being Debated - By Christine Negroni, The New York Times (20 June 2011)



Y a-t-il encore un pilote réveillé dans l’avion ? - de Raphaël Meulders,  La Libre (09 november 2012)

Près d’un pilote européen sur deux avoue s’être déjà endormi aux commandes de Raphaël Meulders,  La Libre (09 november 2012)

Podcast - RTBF (05 october 2012)

"Un pilote fatigué est un pilote dangereux" de Raphaël Meulders,  La Libre (05 octobre 2012)

L'Europe met ses pilotes en danger de fatigue - de Éric Renette, Le Soir (02 octobre 2012)

Les propositions de nouvelles règles harmonisées proposées par l’AESA pour lutter contre la fatigue des pilotes sont mal reçues par la profession - Europaforum Luxembourg (03 octobre 2012)

Les pilotes sont-ils fatigués ? - Travel Express (12 mars 2012)

Pilotes d'avion et conducteurs de train manquent de sommeil - Le Figaro (6 mars 2012)

Aérien : la future réglementation européenne contestée par les syndicats de pilotes - (15 juin 2011)

Les pilotes de ligne européens manifestent - (16 juin 2011)

Les pilotes européens fatigués manifestent - par Elodie Trojanowski, (17 juin 2011)

Les pilotes suédois sont-ils plus fatigués que les autres ? - Déplacements Pros (20 octobre 2011)

Pilotes Inquiets - Le Vif L'Express (18 mars 2011)

"On enchaîne des journées de 15 heures" - L'Essentiel (11 février 2011)



Piloter sover hyppigt i cockpittet - Nyhederne (10 November 2012)

Flypersonale kalder transportminister til undsætning: Stop farlige regler - Rasmus Dam Nielsen, Politiken (01 Oktober 2012)

SAS vil ikke sta vagt om flyvesikkerhed - Politiken (30 maj 2012)

Piloter frygter flere ulykker - Politiken (30 maj 2012)

Forskere dumper nye pilotkrav - Michael Lund, John Hansen, Claus Blok Thomsen, Politiken ( 26 oktober 2011)

Flyselskaber og piloter gar sammen - Michael Lund, John Hansen, Claus Blok Thomsen, Politiken ( 26 oktober 2011)



Müde piloten, schlafende Aufsicht - Focus (November 2012)

Studie: Jeder dritte Pilot ist schon im Cockpit eingeschlafen - RTL (18 November 2012)

Jeder 3. Pilot ist schon im Cockpit eingeschlafen - Bild (18 November 2012)

Jeder dritte Pilot schon mal im Cockpit eingeschlafen - Der Spiegel (18 November 2012)

Piloten warnen vor Übermüdung im Cockpit - Frankfurter Rundschau (01 Oktober 2012)

VC kündigt Widerstand gegen Flugzeiten an - Flugrevue (13 September 2012)

Piloten wettern gegen längere Schichten - Sicherheit gefährdet - Reuters (12 September 2012)

Neue Arbeitszeiten für Flugpersonal geplant Jeder dritte Pilot ist schon mal eingeschlafen - RP Online
(12 September 2012)

Müde im Cockpit - DW (06 Juli 2012)

NRW will die Arbeitszeit von Piloten begrenzen - Der Spiegel (23 April 2011)

Müde Piloten am Steuerknüppel von Daniel Jaggi, K-Tipp (20 April 2011)

Piloten: Übermüdung im Cockpit - WDR (18 April 2011)

Profit vor Sicherheit Übermüdete Piloten als Risikofaktor - Kontrovers (6 April 2011)

Schlaf im Cockpit - EU lockert Arbeitszeiten - WDR (6 April 2011)

Piloten fürchten EU-PläneÜbermüdet im Cockpit - SWR (1 April 2011)

Luftverkehr : Piloten sollen mehr arbeiten und weniger schlafen - DerWesten (1 April 2011)

Übermüdet im Cockpit - SWR Cont.ra

EU gefährdet Flugsicherheit - Tagelblatt Online (14 Februar 2011)

Luftsicherheit - EASA will kürsere Pausen für Piloten einführ - Der Spiegel Online (12 Februar 2011)



ECA rechaza la normativa sobre la fatiga en Luxemburgo - Aviaciondigit@l (16 de junio 2011)

Martínez de Velasco: “Es curioso que Iberia sancione a los pilotos por cumplir la ley” - (13 de mayo 2011)

Martínez de Velasco: “Es curioso que Iberia sancione a los pilotos por cumplir la ley” de Carmen Porras, La Gaceta (11 de mayo)



Un pilota di aerei su tre si è addormentato ai comandi - La Stampa (18 novembre 2012)

Piloti europei sul piede di guerra contro l'aumento degli orari di lavoro - Lucio Cillis, La Repubblica (09 Giugno 2011)

I piloti minacciano il blocco "Due ore di lavoro in più, voli insicuri" - Lucio Cillis, La Repubblica (18 Marzo 2011)



"Zou u in een vliegtuig stappen als u wist dat piloten bij landing 22 uur wakker zijn?" - Het Laatste Nieuws (25 Sept 2013)

Piloten bezorgd over vliegtijden: ‘Zou u in een vliegtuig stappen als u wist dat wij bij landing ruim 22 uur wakker zijn?’ - De Standaard & Het Nieuwsblad

Gevaar in de cockpit - De Telegraaf (video) (25 Jun 2013)

Piloten zijn hoge werkdruk beu - VTM (video)

Helft piloten dommelt in achter stuurknuppel - Het Laatste Nieuws Online (21 oktober 2011)

Piloten boos om voorstel langere werktijden - Joost Freys, Het Laatste Nieuws (22 maart 2011)



Motstridende om pilotsoving - Nordlys (10 November 2012)

Skandinaviske piloter sovner oftest i cockpiten - Aftenposten (09 November 2012)

Sjokkrapport: Halvparten av norske flygere har sovnet på jobb - VG Nett (09 November 2012)

Norsk Flygerforbund: - Det vil skje en ulykke - VG Nett (01 Oktober 2012)

Pilotene frykter flere ulykker med 16-timers arbeidsdager - VG Nett (19 March 2012)

206 norske piloter vedgar at de sovnet - Av Martin Nilsen, VG Nett (9 Februar 2011)

En av to piloter har sovnet i cockpit - Dagbladet (2 Februar 2011)



Varannan pilot har somnat under en flygning - nu vill EU förlänga arbetspassen - TV4 (09 oktober 2012)

Många piloter somnar i cockpit (19 oktober 2011)

Varannan pilot har somnat under flygning Christer Stenberg, SVT (18 oktober 2011)

Trötta piloter somnar i cockpit - Boras Tidning (19 oktober 2011)

Svenska piloter somnar under flygning Anna Skarin,  Expressen (19 oktober 2011)

Piloter somnar i cockpit - Various (19 oktober 2011)

Inte ovanligt att piloter somnar under flygning - Mittuniversitetet  (19 oktober 2011)

Till: Infrastrukturminister



Joka toinen ruotsalaislentäjä nukahtaa kesken lennon - (19 Lokakuu 2011)

Yli puolet ruotsalaislentäjistä nukahtanut lennon aikana - (19 Lokakuu 2011)

Väsymys painaa lentäjiä ohjaamoissa - (19 Lokakuu 2011)

Lentäjät nukahtelevat ohjaamoissa – huoli Suomessa - Uusi Suomi (19 Lokakuu 2011)

Lentäjät kammoavat 14 tunnin työvuoroa - Laura Manninen, Talous Sanomat (13 Heinäkuu 2011)

Lentäjät barrikadeille väsymystä vastaan - STT Info (16 Kesäkuu 2011)



Novim propisima u EU nezadovoljni i piloti u Srbiji- Euractiv (02.10.2012)

Srpski piloti: Premoreni letači opasni po putnike - Kurir (01.10.2012)

Novi pravilnik ugrožava bezbednost letenja i putnika? Blic (01.10.2012)


Below you will find all media coverage of the FTL issue, sorted by language.


***Special Compilation of the media coverage of ECA's Demonstration

in front of the EU Transport Ministers' Council Meeting in Luxembourg

on 16 June 2011***

Part I - Part II