Union Loses EU Battle Over Pilot Hours
A pilots union has lost its battle to persuade MEPS to vote against new European regulations for flying hours which it considers "unsafe and discredited".
Last week the European Parliament's transport committee voted by 21-13 to reject the EU plans.
But the British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa) has revealed that the full European Parliament voted on Wednesday not to confirm the committee's decision.
This means the rules can now be implemented, unless the EU Council of Ministers decides to discuss and vote on them to confirm the rejection, Balpa said.
Balpa has said the new rules could mean pilots landing planes after being on duty for as long as 22 hours. The organisation has recently published details of extreme fatigue among cockpit crew.
It said that the MEPs vote today had followed "intensive lobbying from the airline industry and dodgy last-minute backroom deals".
However, the UK Government and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) have backed the new regulations.
Stephen Rooney from the CAA told Sky News the changes are a "positive step forward" and will "increase safety standards".
He added that standards in other European countries and on EU airlines would be also raised which is important for UK passengers.
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 the lives of passenger at risk.
"The UK Government and flight safety regulator (the CAA) have helped the EC force through these rules by dodgy last-minute backroom deals, which have been made up as they have gone along."
He went on: "This has been a botched process by the EC from start to finish.
"Passengers and pilots deserve flight safety rules based on rigorous science and evidence, not secret dodgy deal-making in Strasbourg, which will mean that Britain no longer has the safest skies in Europe."
Balpa now wants the UK Government and the CAA "to carry out and publish an immediate scientific review of the impact of the botched new EU rules and demand that they are discussed and voted on by UK ministers in the EU Council".