China Airlines pilots stand firm on regional flights overwork

Business | 11 Feb 2019 3:36 pm

The second round of negotiations between Taiwan's China Airlines and its pilots today will focus on the definition of "reasonable flight time," amid a pilot strike over issues such as overwork, according to the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, which will mediate the talks.

"We are hoping that both sides will reach a consensus on what kinds of flights cause pilot fatigue and perhaps decide on special work hours on a case-by-case basis," said the ministry's deputy Minister wang Kwo-tsai, said, CNA reports.

The main contention between CAL and its pilots is over the work hours on regional flights and how many hours constitute "overwork." The pilots are also asking for three instead of two crew members on CAL's regional flights of between seven and 12 hours.

CAL, meanwhile, has argued that under the Aircraft Flight Operation Regulations, the global aviation industry standard, it is only obliged to schedule a minimum of two pilots on flights of less than 14 hours.

During the first round of negotiations last week, CAL agreed to the pilots' demand for a flight crew of four on routes that take more than 12 hours.

For regional flights, however, no agreement was reached on the pilots' request for two flight crew members on routes that take more than seven hours.

So far, CAL and the pilots have been unyielding on the issue of regional flights, which account for 40 percent of the airline's schedule and take eight hours on average on a round trip.

Wang said that in the interest of reaching an agreement, he hopes the pilots will identify the flights that are of particular concern, such as red-eye flights and those in and out of busy airports where delays could contribute to longer flight times.

Regardless of the outcome of the negotiations, however, the transportation ministry has no intention of departing from the AOR, he said.

Wang said he hopes the strike will end after the second round of negotiations, which is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. tonday.

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