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Mode Aviation
Reference No. AR201400099
Date reported 04 November 2014
Concern title Cabin Crew fatigue experienced during a late night Melbourne to Perth return flight
Concern summary

The concern related to the fatigue experienced by  the cabin crew member during a late night return flight from Melbourne to Perth.

Industry / Operation affected Aviation: Air transport
Concern subject type Aviation: Cabin safety

Reporter's concern

The reporter expressed a safety concern in relation to the fatigue they experienced and is experienced on a regular basis by cabin crew members while operating the Melbourne to Perth back of the clock return flight duty.

The reporter advised that if the flight is full, they are not provided with a rest area, as management do not allow for seats to be reserved for this purpose therefore there are no seats available. The reporter advised that on other sectors, three seats are blocked off to allow crew to have adequate rest during the flight.

During the flight, the reporter advised that they felt that they were struggling to perform their duties and that in the event of an emergency, they did not think that they would have been able to perform their duties adequately. 

The reporter also advised that although the operator advise cabin crew members that they will provide transport home after a flight if the cabin crew member is fatigued, they make it extremely difficult for the crew to utilise the transport as they are often told to wait up to ninety minutes for the transport to be arranged, and they cannot contact management during the flight to pre-arrange the transport. 

Operator's response (Operator 1)

The airline has a robust reporting system and culture, which allows us to monitor and quickly take action following reports of safety concerns across our business.

Additionally, any reports highlighting risk of fatigue are monitored in a dedicated business taskforce of subject matter experts, which regularly reviews rostering and flight patterns and makes changes as required.

The specific duty referenced in this report is completed by both Melbourne based flight and cabin crew. The duty is rostered a maximum of 9 hours and 45 minutes on a narrow bodied aircraft. Where customer loads permit on this, and all domestic ‘back of the clock’ duties, the last row of the cabin is reserved for cabin crew rest. For duties in excess of 11 hours, these seats are held from sale and are available exclusively for cabin crew rest.

The airline’s reporting rates for this specific duty is well below average across all duties; however, the airline continues to actively monitor all reports.

Additionally, the airline provides extensive options following all duties to assist crew in managing fatigue risks. These options include accommodation at a nearby hotel for rest, transport with a company contracted supplier, or approval to claim expenses for transport costs with a provider of the crew member’s choice. Delays with company contracted transport providers may be experienced depending on demand and supplier availability.

Regulator's response (Regulator 1)

CASA has reviewed the REPCON and the operator’s response. Based on the information provided in the report, CASA is unable to identify any regulatory breaches. CASA notes the response from the operator and encourages them to continue monitoring and managing cabin crew fatigue. CASA regularly conducts surveillance activities of cabin crew operations of airlines and CASA will continue with both scheduled and unscheduled activity to monitor compliance.

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Last update 15 May 2015