The Air Canada Pilots Association, the largest single pilot group in Canada – representing more than 4,000 professional pilots across Canada who fly the vast majority of Canadian overseas flights, is gravely disappointed that Minister Garneau and the federal government are moving forward with substandard fatigue rules.
“To say that we are profoundly disappointed is an understatement. These substandard rules leave a two-hour gap between the maximum flight time for Canadian pilots flying at night, compared to what’s recommended by NASA’s Ames Research Centre, and two and a half hours longer than what U.S. pilots are allowed to fly,” said Captain Matt Hogan, Chair of the ACPA Master Elected Council. “It is unbelievable that in the face of scientific evidence and international best practice our government expects pilots to fly two hours longer than what NASA says is safe.”
The new rules will significantly impact Air Canada pilots flying for Air Canada Rouge, who will be subject to weaker fatigue regulations than on Air Canada’s mainline. ACPA had proposed that measures be put in place to protect all pilots flying overseas long-haul flights at night.
“This is the first time in 20 years that Canada has updated its fatigue rules, yet here the government is delaying implementation until 2022 for smaller operators,” said Milt Isaacs, CEO of ACPA. “The government’s own statistics conclusively prove that it’s these very pilots who need the most protection. It’s unacceptable that they’re forced to wait the longest for the new rules.”
Almost every prescriptive limit set out in the government’s regulations can be bypassed, thanks to the government’s Fatigue Risk Management System (FRMS). The government spent a decade developing these new rules, and operators now have a way to bypass the new regulations. By the government’s own estimation, FRMS is expected to be implemented by operators on up to 20% of regulated flights, meaning that one fifth of flights would essentially have no effective oversight.