Working hours of airline pilots
Longer flight hours for pilots are profitable for airlines. Accordingly, their lobbyists have made considerable efforts to convince the Commission of the need for new legislation.
When the Commission published its new draft legislation, the airlines' lobbyists boasted internally that all of their demands had been taken onboard. Flight hours in the EU would become longer than in the US. A study commissioned by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) warned of security risks when extending flight hours beyond the status quo. But the Commission rejected the arguments of the study.
It even decided to change the procedural basis of the legislation so that the Parliament could not make amendments to the text. It could only accept or reject the text.
What was the Greens' position?
The Greens took the safety concerns outlined by the EASA study seriously. We also listened to pilots, who feared that long flight hours would increase fatigue and thus put passenger safety at risk.
The political behaviour of the Commission was unacceptable for us. As an executive organ, we do not expect the Commission to follow its own agenda - nor to lobby the Parliament the way it did.
We therefore suggested that the Parliament reject the Commission proposal.
Did other MEPs accept the Greens' position?
When the Greens proposed to reject the Commission proposal, there seemed to be little support for such a move. We were only supported by the GUE/NGL. It came as a surprise seeing our initiative being backed by the Transport Committee. This result was mostly due to the absence of many EPP members during the vote.
Given the form of the procedure the Commission had chosen, it was not possible to introduce any changes to the text.
Which points did the Greens lose?
The Greens were unable to find a majority to reject the Commission proposal at the final vote. After the successful vote in committee, the airlines intensified their lobbying once more.
Surprisingly, the Commission sided with them and also lobbied in favour of the airlines' proposal. We were disappointed that airlines could thus not only bank on the support of the EPP, but also on that of the Commission.
Lead MEP:Brian Simpson (S&D)
Green MEP responsible:Eva Lichtenberg
Staff contact:Paul Beeckmans (Email)
Outcome of the vote
Below you find the results of the final vote in plenary. How did the political groups vote? What about national delegations? And what was the position of your MEP?