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Flight Time Limitations (FTL)

Latest update 25/01/2015: please see below for more details.

Overview

FTL requirements determine the maximum permissible duty periods, flight duty periods and minimum rest periods for pilots and cabin crew to ensure the safe operation of flights. They also prescribe limits for crew standby or other non-flying duties.

Background Information

Up to mid-2009 all EU member states had to operate under the Regulation governing EU OPS Sub Part Q Flight and Duty Time Limitations and Rest Requirements. In July 2009 EASA advised the airspace user associations of its intention to launch a separate rule-making activity NPA OPS.055 from September 2009, directly concerned with FTL. EASA then established an FTL OPS 0.55 Drafting Group which comprised of representatives from unions, EASA, airline associations, authorities and the commission which published NPA 2010-14 for comment by March 2011. EASA then established an FTL OPS 0.55 Review Group to consider the multitude of comments received to the NPA. In October 2012 EASA Opinion on FTL was submitted to the European Commission.

ERA’s Current Position

ERA supports the airline associations position that the Opinion reflected a balanced approach at that any subsequent changes would impact that balance and require further review by the OPS 0.55 Drafting Group.

Update

Latest update 25/01/2016: From 18 February 2016 Commercial Air Transport operators of aeroplanes will need to have transitioned to EASA Subpart FTL. The regulations apply to Commercial Air Transport aeroplane operators, however, the following groups are currently exempt from the regulations:

  • Air taxi operators of aeroplanes of 19 seats or less
  • Emergency Medical Services (EMS)
  • Single pilot operations
  • Helicopter operations

EASA has a number of rulemaking tasks for FTL over the next few years including air taxi operators, EMS, single pilot operations and helicopters. In the future new rules will also cover ultra-long range operations and non-commercial complex operations.

Affected operators will have to introduce both new prescriptive limitations and new demonstrable processes and procedures required by the regulations. This is a significant change in requirements and regulatory approach as operators will be required to actively demonstrate how they manage fatigue. They will also need to:

  • Write a new scheme that demonstrates all the requirements under the regulations.
  • Develop processes and procedures, including demonstrating how they are managing their crews' fatigue levels and associated operational risks. They will have to show how they can meet these new responsibilities before they transition.
  • Submit a change management plan/safety case to show that they have assessed the risks of the change and how they will manage it.
  • Conduct fatigue management training with all crew members, crewing and rostering staff and management. The initial training requirement must be completed during the transition process before the operator can secure a new FTL approval.

What does this mean for crew?
All crew members flying for affected operators will have to learn the new regulations, take part in fatigue management training, and be aware of their increased rights and responsibilities.

Details of the new FTL Regulation are available through the EASA website (see useful links below).

Papers

All associated papers are available by clicking on the Related Download button on this page.

Useful links

http://easa.europa.eu/document-library/certification-specifications/cs-ftl1-initial-issue

Contacts

For further assistance please contact policy.technical@eraa.org