COVID-19: EASA publishes guidelines to ease FTL compliance
On 26 May, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) announced the COVID-19 guidelines for FTL temporary exemptions.
These EASA guidelines are directly applicable to commercial Business aviation, operations (air taxi or AEMS flights), as well as non-commercial Business aviation operations. Non-commercial Business aviation operations which are subject to National requirements can use these guidelines when and if possible.
In practical terms, those exemptions will allow operators to quickly obtain one or more of the following exception from their NAA:
- An extension of the maximum daily Flight Duty Period (FDP) which does not comply with SubpartQ & Regulation 3922/912;
- A rest period at outstation (away from home base) to be taken in the in-flight rest facility on board and not in suitable accommodation;
- A reduced rest period without fatigue risk management (FRM) under ORO.FTL.120 (not present in SubpartQ).
On the other side, operators should develop a risk assessment to determine the probability and potential severity of fatigue-related risks to the planned flight. The NAA should assess this risk before approving the exemption. The operator should identify and implement other mitigations, following its operation-specific risk assessment.
The operator should carry out enhanced monitoring and analysis of FDM, ASR/MORs, and crew fatigue reports generated during exempted operations, to have a better understanding of the impact on crew fatigue. Action has to be taken to address any issues identified by this exercise without delay.
Also, operators should avoid the use of the commander’s discretion to extend an FDP further and further reduce a rest period at the outstation, beyond the exemption package approved by the NCA. Also, note that no exemptions from the requirements on the class of in-flight rest facility should be granted under these Guidelines. And lastly, no exemptions from the provisions on cumulative fatigue should be given under these Guidelines.
You will find a list of possible mitigation measures in the EASA guidelines document.