Recently a question was raised as to how long flight crew work a day. Well I guess it would therefore be justifiable to write the following…
Firstly, let me explain that all pilot licence holders are bound by regulations not to fly when affected by fatigue. As a professional pilot licence holder, we do have the privilege of calling in sick when we are really not fit to fly. In training school, we are taught Human Performance and Limitations, which is in essence a crash course for a Medical Degree!
As an Air Operator Certificate (AOC) holder, the airline is responsible for guidelines known as Flight Time Limitation (FTL) scheme for its crewmembers to avoid fatigue and thus ensuring crew are well rested prior to each flight duty. As a guide, the Civil Aviation Publication (CAP) 371 issued by the Civil Aviation Authority of the United Kingdom is the document most airlines adhere to. The CAP 371 was published after much study was made with regards to fatigue in flight crew. It provides a set of work pattern for flight crews and flight attendants designed to prevent the onset of fatigue. From the CAP 371, airlines then work out a set of working patterns.
Factors affecting our working hours include the number of sectors (flights) we do that particular day, as well as the reporting time of that particular day. From there, there is a something called ‘earned rest’ whereby the crewmembers must be given this rest period before the onset of the next duty period. Confused yet?
Well, in AirAsia, we basically have two shifts – morning and afternoon. The morning shift generally starts (reporting time at the airport) from 6 till 8 in the morning. If we look into our FTL tables, we will be able to work for between 10 till 14 hours maximum! For the afternoon shifts, it starts from 3 till about 5 in the evening, and again going into the tables, we will be able to work between 9 till 13 hours.
Let’s start a morning shift example, the one I did a couple of mornings ago… I had a reporting time of 6.20am. Working backwards, I would require 1 hour to get to the office. So I would need to leave home by 5.20. Depending on how fast one gets ready, we would then have to get up anywhere between 4.20 till 5.20? I normally give myself some buffer, so I actually got up at 4.20, planning to leave my house at 5.00. I got into the office at 6.00 and prepared for the flight together with my other crewmembers (yes, we usually get in earlier than the minimum).
We then went for our 4 sectors – KUL/TGG/KUL/KCH/KUL. The last flight landed ahead of schedule in LCCT today at 1.25 pm. So my duty time was about 7 hours and 35 minutes – well below the maximum allowed. I had a total of 4 hours and 50 minutes flight time. And then it is the one hour drive back home ☺
There are other methods the crew use to and from work. I sometimes use the bus service from KL Sentral. That would mean some extra traveling time, although it is much cheaper and some nap time! Some crewmembers use a transport service provided by an independent party. So, the choice is there.
There you go, that is a typical duty day for most of us, 4 sectors (flights) a day, anywhere between 7 to 9 hours of duty. Of course we do have shorter flights, and at times only 2 sectors a day. It all depends on the combination generated by the computers ☺
Questions and Answers time ☺ ….