Fri, Nov 09, 2018 - Page 3 News List

ASC told to file reports on work hours, flight safety

OVERWORK?Lawmakers froze part of the Aviation Safety Council’s budget until it submits two reports, including how length of work affects the well-being of cabin crew

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

China Airlines flight attendants walk through Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport on March 21.

Photo: Chu Pei-hsiung, Taipei Times

The Legislative Yuan’s Transportation Committee yesterday passed two resolutions asking the Aviation Safety Council (ASC) to submit within three months a report on how the length of a cabin crew’s working time influences flight safety and another one on preventive measures that airlines should take to meet work hour regulations.

The working hours of cabin crews — including flight attendants and pilots — have been under public scrutiny after EVA Air’s flight attendants on Tuesday lodged a protest with the Civil Aeronautics Administration, urging the aviation authority to reject the airline’s request to draft special laws to regulate flight attendants’ working hours.

EVA Air was also found to have been fined 52 times so far this year for contravening the work-hour regulations in the Labor Standards Act (勞動基準法), although it argued that it should not be blamed for flight delays caused by air traffic control.

Last week, a council investigation also concluded that pilot fatigue was one of the possible reasons that led to a helicopter crash last year, which took the life of documentary filmmaker Chi Po-lin (齊柏林).

One of the resolutions, which was proposed by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers, states that cabin crew play an important role in ensuring aviation safety.

Several airlines often contravene the work-hour regulations stipulated in the Aircraft Flight Operation Regulations (航空器飛航作業管理規則) and the Labor Standards Act, the resolution said, urging the council to submit a report on cabin crew working hours and how they affect their mental and physical well-being.

Another resolution passed by the committee states that, as 50 percent of the aviation accidents that occurred from 2008 to last year were due to personnel errors, the council should work with the Ministry of Transportation and Communications and the Ministry of Labor, and offer suggestions on what airlines should do to prevent overworking cabin crews.

Although the council said it is not the agency in charge of regulating cabin crews’ work hours, lawmakers said the issue is part of the council’s business and it should submit the report as requested.

The committee also approved a proposal by DPP Legislator Cheng Pao-ching (鄭寶清) that 5 percent of the budget that is to be allocated for the ASC’s program to improve flight safety should be frozen until it submits the reports.

Furthermore, it approved a resolution that all the laws related to the establishment and authorities of a national transportation safety and investigation agency be submitted to the committee within one month and that the budget plan for the new agency should be filed within three months.

“The council’s current budget plan would not be enough to cope with the increased workload once the new agency is formed,” DPP Legislator Lee Kun-tse (李昆澤) said.

“We suggest that the council draft a budget estimate that the new agency would need to conduct investigations of transportation accidents and file a written report,” Lee said.

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