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Canada set new limits on pilot flight times to curb crew fatigue

Staff Writer |
To ensure the safety of passengers and crew, the Government of Canada sets limits to the amount of time a crew member can be on the job.

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The changes to flight crew fatigue management include two essential elements:

- New prescribed flight and duty limits that are grounded in modern science and better manage the length of time that a crew member can be on the job (see table below); and

- Fatigue Risk Management Systems that will allow operators the flexibility to vary from the prescribed limits based on their unique operations if they can demonstrate that alertness and safety will not be affected.

New prescribed flight and duty time limits

Flight time Previous regulations (1996)
1,200 hours in any 365 consecutive days
300 hours in any 90 consecutive days
120 hours in any 30 consecutive days
40-60 hours in any 7 consecutive days

New regulations
1,000 hours in any 365 consecutive days
300 hours in any 90 consecutive days
112 hours in any 28 consecutive days

Flight duty period Previous regulations (1996)
14 hours (aerial workers and air taxi operators) or
13 hours, 45 minutes (commuter operations and airline operators)

New regulations
Maximum 9-13 hours – based on start time of day/sectors flown

Rest periods
Previous regulations (1996)
8 hours plus time for meals, personal hygiene, and travel to and from suitable accommodation

New regulations
At home– 12 hours or 11 hours plus travel time, or 10 hours in suitable accommodation provided by the air operator
Away from home – 10 hours in suitable accommodation

Time free from duty
Previous regulations (1996)
36 hours / 7 days; or
3 days / 17 days; or
3 periods x 24 hours / 30 days
13 periods x 24 hours / 90 days.

New regulations
Option 1:
1 single day free from duty per 7 consecutive days
4 single days free from duty per 28 days
Option 2: 5 days off per 21 days

Consecutive night duties
Previous regulations (1996)
Not applicable

New regulations
Maximum of 3 nights of duty in a row without a rest during the night
If a rest is provided during the night, up to 5 consecutive nighttime duty periods

Fatigue Risk Management Systems
Previous regulations (1996)
No Fatigue Risk Management Systems option
New regulations
Option to use Fatigue Risk Management Systems

Coming into force
New regulations
24 months for major Canadian airline operators (subpart 705)
48 months for smaller and regional operators (subpart 704 and 703)

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