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Exhausted Cathay crews say they are working too hard

September 22, 2015 Aviation, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59Cathay Pacific crews including senior pilots say they are “tired and worn out” with heavy workloads. They have written a letter to that effect to airline management, bearing nearly 100 signatures, including many rank-and-file pilots.

The letter was cited at the weekend by the Sunday edition of the South China Morning Post.

Cathay responded with a statement saying safety was its top priority. It confirmed having received the letter which “expressed some concerns”, the paper reported.

The South China Morning Post is based in Hong Kong, as is Cathay Pacific. The paper claims to have seen the 1900-word letter, in which pilots say they are routinely hitting the cap on flying hours – known as approved flight time limitation (AFTL) – set by Hong Kong’s aviation regulator to prevent fatigue.

The Sunday Morning Post quoted a pilot, who spoke anonymously, saying aircrews that regularly worked to the maximum flying hours risked an accident sooner or later. The source compared the practice to driving at the speed limit all the time.

“You are generating cumulative fatigue the whole time and when you start your next duty, you haven’t recovered fully.”

A rostering practices agreement between the airline and its pilots was recently scrapped, the paper reported.

The letter demands that roster procedures be fixed “as a matter of urgency” and that pilots be involved in the process.

An airline spokeswoman confirmed to the paper that Cathay Pacific was looking at these concerns and engaging directly with the pilots.

Written by Peter Needham

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