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Updates to Canadian aviation’s decades-old flight and duty time (FDT) regulations evidently are to be published next month, but in confirming that May 22, Transport Minister Marc Garneau suggested they may remain less rigorous than FDT regulations in other countries.
“We are in the process of finalizing,” Garneau told reporters on Parliament Hill when asked why his department is prepared to consider FDTs which many in the commercial pilot community insist are longer than the scientific evidence supports.
“As you can understand, there’s a range of opinions on what should be a flight duty day,” said Garneau. “We’ve done an enormous amount of consultation and, of course, our process is to make sure that we are in accordance with the latest science as well as making sure that we are going to respect the International Civil Aviation Organization’s standards. And that’s what we’re doing.”
It was pointed out that his department’s draft fatigue rules, published in Canada Gazette Part I on July 1, 2017, would permit, among other things, single-crew night flights of up to 10.5 hours.
That would be two hours longer than recommended by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and 2.5 hours longer than U.S. regulators decided would be safe.
It also would be longer than recommended not only by European regulators but also the government-industry Canadian Aviation Regulation Advisory Council in 2010.
Garneau, a former astronaut, responded by saying: “Notwithstanding my great respect for NASA, we make our own decisions based on the best available science, and I would ask you to wait till . . . round about mid-June, when they come out, and then you can ask me questions.”