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Aviation Safety

Volume 535: debated on Thursday 10 November 2011

1. What the outcome was of the meeting of the European Aviation Safety Agency’s advisory group of national authorities on 25 and 26 October 2011; and if she will make a statement (79676)

The meeting of the advisory group of national authorities provided an opportunity for representatives of EASA and European Union member states to exchange views on a number of safety rules currently under development. The discussion will help inform EASA’s development of the rules in that area.

I thank the Secretary of State for that answer. A recent survey of pilots has shown that 43% said that they had at some point fallen asleep in the cockpit, and 31% said that when they had woken up the other pilot was also sleeping. Does she agree that the proposals to increase the time pilots work to up to 13 hours, with fewer rest periods, represent a threat to public safety?

First, I should say that the Civil Aviation Authority has received no reports of pilots falling asleep under the mandatory occurrence reporting scheme, but obviously we will always be guided by its views on safety, for which it has an outstanding reputation around the world. The Government have expressed our concerns about the proposed changes and continue to make them known. We will work with other countries to ensure that the final rules reflect those concerns.