Pilots ‘asleep during long-haul flight’

Pilots ‘asleep during long-haul flight’

Two airline pilots are reported to have confessed to being asleep in the cockpit at the same time during a long-haul flight into the UK.

The captain and his co-pilot on the 325-seat Airbus A330 had decided to take turns in having 20-minute naps during the flight on August 13.

But less than two hours after take-off, both were reportedly asleep, leaving the aircraft cruising on autopilot with no-one to take control in the event of an emergency.

They admitted what had happened to the Civil Aviation Authority, blaming longer shifts over the peak holiday season, which left them unable to get more than five hours’ sleep in the preceding 36.

The regulator has declined to name the airline concerned for fear of deterring other pilots from reporting problems.

It confirmed the carrier was UK-based but would not say where the plane had departed from or where it was heading, The Daily Telegraph reported.

The British Airline Pilots Association has warned that proposed changes to flying rules being voted on by MEPs next month would lead to pilots working up to seven starts in a row and being awake for 22 hours if standby hours are taken into account.



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