By Martin Banks - 5th December 2012
Pilots and cabin crew are already struggling with high levels of fatigue
Aircraft pilots and cabin crew will hold parallel walkouts and rallies across Europe next month.
The move was announced at a press conference in Brussels by the European cockpit association (ECA) and the European transport workers' federation (ETF).
The two organisations said their members would stage a Europe-wide action day against the flight time limitations (FTL), recently proposed by the European aviation safety agency (EASA)
The protesting staff are calling on EU policymakers to "take steps and put passenger safety before the commercial interests of the airlines".
The crew say they have decided to take action because they have a "professional responsibility to safeguard passenger safety and ensure safe flight operations".
Aircrews will stage a 'Walkout for safety' on 22 January.
"For years now, aircrews have been waiting for safe rules to counter the dangers of crew fatigue on flight operations", said Nico Voorbach, ECA president.
He added, "Surveys show that pilots and cabin crew are already struggling with high levels of fatigue, nodding off at the controls of aircraft.
"Nonetheless, EASA chose to disregard scientific recommendations and put forward a proposal that accepts high levels of aircrew fatigue."
"If the Colgan air accident showed us something, it's that a tired pilot is a dangerous pilot. EASA's rules fail to address this and this must change today", added Voorbach
"No progress has been made towards addressing the deep safety concerns of aircrews. This must change", added Francois Ballestero, ETF political secretary for aviation.
He went on, "Otherwise flight safety standards across Europe will go down and crews will be obliged to fly schedules which are outright dangerous and will adversely affect the safety of flight operations.
"This 'walkout' will show that we are determined to do whatever it takes to ensure flight safety."