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Pilots Protest Working Hours

October 5, 2009 By: Jena Tesse Fox

The BBC is reporting today that airline pilots are holding demonstrations across Europe, claiming that long flying hours are "putting lives at risk."

European air crew unions argue current rules that govern how long they can fly for are unsafe, with fatigue a factor in 15 percent of accidents. But the European Aviation Safety Agency says it is still considering a scientific report on the issue.

There are no planned demonstrations in the UK, where industrial action by pilots is outlawed, but British pilots are expected to join demonstrations at major airports on the continent with colleagues from 35 other countries.

It is not clear whether the action will cause disruption to travelers.

In one demonstration outside the European Commission building in Brussels, TV pictures showed dozens of uniformed pilots and air crew holding placards and handing out flyers calling for a change in working conditions.

The rules are already in force in some EU countries, but are due to come into force in the UK in 2012. Pilots and air crew have complained that their working conditions have deteriorated as the airline industry looks to cut costs. The British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa) said two million leaflets would be handed out across Europe by the protesters.

For a video about the protests, visit  

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