Less sleep, more workCroatia Airlines pilots are outraged after their minimum rest period between return flights has been slashed from six to only three hours. “After a virtually sleepless night, pilots and other cabin crew will return to the aircraft stressed and fatigued which will compromise safety. The company has put cost cutting ahead of safety”, Andre Šarinić, the head of the pilots union at the Croatian carrier said. According to the union, the airline will only save 3.300 Euros per month on hotel accommodation for crew as a result of the new minimum rest rules.
The Croatian Civil Aviation Agency made the decision to cut crew rest hours without consulting the pilots union and without warning. Off duty pilots are expected to protest in front of the building of the Croatian Aviation Agency today. The union claims that the Agency was previously against shedding the six hour crew rest period. The European Cockpit Association which counts 38.600 members has extended its support to its Croatian colleagues.
In its defence, the Croatian Civil Aviation Agency says that the European Union allows for the minimum rest to last for only three hours. “Croatia Airlines now has equal, not greater freedom in terms of flight duties than foreign airlines operating to Croatia, which is one of the basic prerequisites for equal competition“, the Agency says.