Half of British pilots slumber on job

AFP-JIJI

More than half of Britain’s airline pilots have fallen asleep in the cockpit, and a third have woken up to find their co-pilot asleep, according to a new survey.

The study of 500 pilots, commissioned by the British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA), also found that 43 percent believed tiredness had compromised their ability to fly a plane at least once a month for the last six months.

Some 56 percent admitted they had fallen asleep during flights, and 29 percent said they had woken up to find the other pilot had also dozed off, according to the ComRes survey.

The findings come after it emerged that both the captain and co-pilot of an Airbus A330 plane fell asleep at the same time while it was on autopilot during a flight by an unnamed British operator Aug. 13. The pair had each slept for just five hours on the previous two nights.

Some 49 percent of the pilots questioned by BALPA identified tiredness as the biggest threat to flight safety, and a third said their airline’s culture discouraged them from reporting this fatigue.