If you have a story call our newsdesk on 01722 426511 or email us. To advertise call 01722 426500.
MEPs vote on flying hours plans
MEPs vote today on new regulations for pilots' flying hours which UK cockpit crew union Balpa considers "unsafe and discredited".
Last week the European Parliament's transport committee voted by 21-13 to reject the EU plans, but the EC is asking the full European Parliament to confirm the rejection.
Balpa, which has highlighted instances of fatigue and pilots' concerns in recent weeks, says the EC is putting the rules to the European Parliament in a way that will mean that a majority of all the 766 serving MEPs must vote to reject the rules tomorrow to stop them automatically coming into place, rather than a majority of those present for the vote.
Balpa says this means MEPs not even present for the vote could inadvertently and unintentionally support the new rules by being absent and preventing those opposed from forming a majority.
The union says the new rules could mean pilots being allowed to land a plane having been awake for 22 hours. In a recent survey, 56% of British pilots said they had fallen asleep in the cockpit with a third of them also saying they had woken to find the other pilot also asleep.
The UK Government and the UK's Civil Aviation Authority are backing the new regulations
Balpa general secretary Jim McAuslan said: " British pilots want to make every flight a safe flight and are deeply concerned that these unsafe new EU rules will put passenger's lives at risk.
"They are shocked that the UK Government and flight safety regulator are helping the EC force through unsafe new rules that will mean Britain no longer has the safest skies in Europe."
He went on: "Severe tiredness is already a major safety issues for pilots. The rules governing flying time and rest should be based on the scientific and medical evidence that the EU have ignored in favour of lobbying from airlines.
"This is about flight safety not pay as pilots flying more hours will earn more. Pilots are in Strasbourg today to ask MEPs to send the commission back to the drawing board and reject these rules."