European pilots protest increased hours

A Lufthansa passenger jet taxis past a British Airways plane.

TEXT OF STORY

Bill Radke: Hundreds of airline pilots are staging a protest today at airports across Europe. They're handing out fake boarding passes that carry this warning: pilot's fatigue is "putting lives at risk." We get more now from Stephen Beard in London.


Stephen Beard: The pilots say that in the scramble to cut costs, airlines are working their crews longer and jeopardizing safety. They blame the European regulators for not tightening the rules on flying hours.

At the moment air crews are permitted to work up to 14 hours a day. And they can be expected to fly for 60 hours a week for three weeks in a row. That is not a reassuring prospect for passengers, says Phillipe von Schoppenthau, one of the organizers of today's protest:

Phillipe von Schoppenthau: I don't know whether you would want to be on board a plane where the pilot is just at the end of thethird week -- this third, 60-hour working week.

He says there is clear scientific evidence that these long hours cause pilot fatigue -- a factor in at least 15 percent of air accidents. The European air safety regulator says it's studying a scientific report on the issue. And will finalize new rules by the year 2011.

In London this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.

About the author

Stephen Beard is the European bureau chief and provides daily coverage of Europe’s business and economic developments for the entire Marketplace portfolio.

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