EurECCA raises concerns that refusal to respect EU and national legislation may jeopardise passenger and crew safety on low cost airline
EurECCA, the European Cabin Crew Association representing more than 35,000 cabin crew, is raising serious concerns that the refusal of one particular low cost airline to respect EU Flight Time Limitations (FLT) legislation could lead to risks in terms of passenger and crew safety. EurECCA is calling for the European Commission, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASE) and the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) to investigate the budget airline’s non-compliance and to take appropriate action to address this issue.
This call to action has been precipitated by a recent incident where four cabin crew were sacked for following EU regulation that stipulates that for safety reasons pilots and cabin crew are not allowed to operate as crew members in an aircraft if they believe they are unfit to do so. They had been requested to operate an additional flight and to fly above the legal limit (14 hours non-stop instead of the legal maximum 12), which they are exceptionally allowed to do on two conditions:
- if the crew deems themselves fit enough to do so and
- if the Captain authorises it.
In the interest of passenger safety the four cabin crew, who had operated a particularly onerous flight schedule that day, declared themselves unfit to operate beyond the normal legal maximum duty period and as a result the flight was not operated.
Instead of applauding the crew members for their responsible behaviour and for exercising their legal obligations under aviation regulations, the budget airline has taken disciplinary action and dismissed them.
“This is totally unacceptable”, said Christoph Drescher, President of EurECCA. “The law is not negotiable and passenger safety must remain the key priority. Imagine if these four chronically fatigued cabin crew had been operating the flight earlier this month which had to make an emergency landing, leaving 30 passengers injured and needing medical attention. As the crew that managed the situation were operating within the legal guidelines they were able to do so with alertness, professionalism and competence. Although these events are rare, they do happen and pilots and cabin crew are expected to be fully alert to deal with such unexpected situations. That is one of the reasons why the regulations insist that any crew member who considers themselves unfit to fly, must not fly. Our passengers’ safety depends on that professional integrity.”
Established in Brussels in 2014, the European Cabin Crew Association, EurECCA, represents, protects and develops the rights and needs of cabin crew all over Europe. It is composed of cabin crew unions from European Union Member States as well as accession and bordering states, and represents some 35,000 cabin crew accounting for 70% of all organised cabin crew in Europe. EurECCA has no political connections.
EurECCA’s work is mainly around cabin and passenger safety and cabin crew health and work and living conditions. Its main aim is to be recognized as a European social partner and, in this capacity, to be regularly consulted within the framework of the social dialogue at the European level.
For more information:
Christoph Drescher, President
Tel: +49 15162432127