By KEITH MCARTHUR
Tuesday, June 12, 2001
Canada 3000 Inc. chief Angus Kinnear said there's no reason pilots should be falling asleep in the cockpits since most of them work less than 75 hours a month.
Transportation workers have been speaking out about the dangers of fatigue, with pilots, truckers and railway engineers saying they can't always stay awake.
But Mr. Kinnear said pilots are just looking to work shorter hours. He said if they were really concerned about fatigue, they would be booking shorter shifts. Instead, they all line up for the longest ones so they don't have to work as many days in a month, he said.
"The average pilot works less than 75 hours a month, which means that if he does a 14-hour day five times a month, he's done his month's work. And if I couldn't get ready to go to work five times a month to fly 14 hours, then I think I would be a pretty bad organizer of my lifestyle," he said.
Robert Milton, the president and chief executive officer of Air Canada, said his airline exceeds all government requirements on rest rules and shift lengths.
"We provide crew rest facilities. We augment flights, which means one or two additional pilots. From my standpoint, this is an airline that goes above and beyond anything that is called for."
Canada's rules on how long a pilot can be behind the controls are among the most liberal in the world.
A pilot in Canada can be at the controls for more than 12 hours, compared with a maximum of eight in the United States and New Zealand and 10 hours in Brazil.
On transcontinental flights, airlines carry extra pilots so everybody has a chance to rest. But while U.S. carriers are required to carry four pilots on a 12-hour, 15-minute flight, a Canadian carrier only needs two.