U.S. National Transportation Safety Board fatigue findings a wakeup call for Ottawa

The Air Canada Pilots Association calls on Canadian government to close the two-hour gap to protect Canadian passengers

MISSISSAUGA, ON, Sept. 25, 2018 /CNW/ – The Air Canada Pilots Association (ACPA) today endorsed recommendations made by the United States’ National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), which called on the Government of Canada to fix its outdated fatigue regulations to ensure the safety of Canada’s passengers and pilots.

“We thank the NTSB for their comprehensive review,” said Captain Matt Hogan, Chair of ACPA’s Master Elected Council. “Their findings on fatigue underscore the many years of urgent calls by Canada’s pilots for flight crew fatigue rules that are supported by science. The government’s proposed rules fall short; they would allow Canadian pilots who begin their duty at 9 pm to operate two hours longer than NASA research recommends, and even long than would be permitted in the United States. Canada’s new fatigue rules must close this two-hour gap.”

NASA: Maximum duty period at night should not exceed 10 hours

The science is clear: fatigue is a form of impairment. NASA’s Ames Research Centre and others conducted research that measured brain wave activity and micro-sleeps of pilots in actual flight operations at night. This informed NASA’s recommendation of a maximum night duty of 10 hours of duty – or 8.5 hours of flight time – at night, requiring a relief pilot for longer duty periods. These NASA recommendations were not reflected in the draft regulations released by Transport Canada on July 1, 2017.

ACPA has joined other pilot groups in calling on the Canadian government to stop years of delays and fix the flawed regulations, including by taking the following steps:

Address pilot fatigue on long-haul flights at night by limiting duty periods for flights in the evening to 8.5 hours of flight time – in line with NASA research findings;
Ensure that any Fatigue Risk Management System relies on science-based prescriptive limits as a foundation, requiring independently verifiable data and stringent Transport Canada approval and oversight before deviating from the maximum duty period; and,
Pilots on all sizes of aircraft – whether they carry passengers or cargo – should have the same protective fatigue limits, implemented at the same time.
Safer Skies coalition: Pilots advocating for better rules

ACPA formed the Safer Skies coalition in 2017, bringing together the voices of 9,000 airline pilots in Canada who work every day to keep their passengers and the skies safe. The Safer Skies website – saferskies.ca – includes more detailed information.