Key Points:

  • Only 5.7% of Maltese pilots trust their airlines' fatigue reporting procedures, revealing the least confidence in such systems in Europe, according to an ECA report.

  • A significant portion of Maltese pilots voiced concerns about the efficacy of fatigue management protocols and feared repercussions for refusing extended duty times.

  • Air Malta emphasizes its commitment to adhering to EASA guidelines, focusing on fatigue risk management and safety as top priorities.

Survey Highlights Maltese Pilots' Distrust in Fatigue Reporting Procedures

VALETTA —A recent survey commissioned by the European Cockpit Association (ECA) reveals deep-seated distrust among Maltese pilots toward airline fatigue management systems. Baines Simmons, the aviation firm conducting the research, reported that a mere 5.7% of pilots in Malta trust the protocols in place for reporting fatigue at their respective airlines.

According the Times of Malta, the study, which encompassed nearly 7,000 pilots across Europe, shed light on alarming issues including microsleeps experienced by one in four pilots while operating aircraft. The survey highlighted that Malta, along with Ireland, consistently landed at the bottom in terms of the pilots' confidence in fatigue management systems, indicating serious challenges that necessitate scrutiny by national inspectors and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

Noteworthy is the apprehension and lack of awareness amongst Malta-based pilots in dealing with fatigue reporting systems. A dismal 8% felt well-communicated by their airlines on matters concerning fatigue, with 67% outright stating that the risk associated with fatigue was not aptly managed. Moreover, only a quarter could effortlessly access fatigue reporting systems, falling significantly short of the 44% average reported across Europe.

In an even graver revelation, less than 4% of pilots in Malta believed that submitting fatigue reports heralded any safety improvements, starkly contrasted with top-performing Italy by a gap of 20 percentage points. Alarmingly, a sweeping 91% conveyed reservations over rejecting requests to fly beyond their official duty hours.

In line with the directive from EASA, it is obligatory for airline operators to introduce systems that pinpoint and control the risks confronted by pilots and crew during their service tenure, including fatigue as a notable hazard. As of now, there are 46 airlines holding air operator certificates in the Mediterranean archipelago nation.

Responding to the critical findings of the report, a representative from Air Malta maintained that the company follows the duty limitations delineated by EASA and treats fatigue risk management and safety as its uppermost priorities. The airline ascertains to actively mitigate fatigue-related risks through strategic approaches, aiming for amplified safety, the spokesperson affirmed, adding that pilots from various other airlines operating in Malta were also part of the survey population.

As this report becomes public, it warrants immediate attention and action from the airline industry stakeholders, highlighting a crucial area where safety measures and trust can be considerably fortified.