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Disappointment over EU air safety vote

The SNP expressed disappointment this afternoon after the European Parliament narrowly voted through new legislation which could decrease air safety.

Commenting, MEP Alyn Smith said:

“This is very disappointing, there are serious concerns about the implications of the Commission's proposal for pilots and cockpit personnel and ignoring these concerns will put lives at risk.

“Despite being voted down in committee last week through an amendment placed by our group, the Parliament approved the package by 387 to 218 even though there remain serious questions about last minute compromises struck just last night and not yet formally communicated to Parliament. We should have taken more time on this to do it right. 

“The opposition from aviation professionals – the people who fly every day – is intense; there are real concerns for their own safety and the safety of their passengers. As Balpa have argued, there is potential for pilots now to be awake for 22 hour shifts, which is frankly ridiculous. We already heard earlier this month that half of the pilots in our skies have admitted falling asleep while in the air already, it is terrifying to think they may now be flying even longer.

“There were good intensions behind these proposals; however as a result of trying to make flying safer across the EU, they have weakened the safety regulation in the UK. The cobbled together assurances from the Commission on monitoring the situation do nothing to allay the concerns. It’s simply not good enough.”

Balpa's secretary general, Jim McAuslan, added:

"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 passengers at risk.

"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."