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Mode Aviation
Reference No. AR201500107
Date reported 07 December 2015
Concern title Fatigue experienced by short haul cabin crew
Concern summary

The concern related to the fatigue experience by short haul cabin crew.

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

Reporter's concern

The reporter expressed a safety concern related to the fatigue being experienced by cabin crew employed by [operator].

The reporter advised that it is becoming common that during their rostered duty, often over ten hours, they do not receive food or rest until the last sector for the day. This is leaving cabin crew unnecessarily, overly fatigued on the last sector.

The reporter advised that on a recent flight they were rostered on a 10:15 duty (which was then extended). None of the three crewmembers were provided food until the last sector nearly nine and a half hours after they signed on. This was after they had become dangerously fatigued. This can occur over several days and is becoming more commonplace.

Reporter comment:

To prevent fatigue, duties such as this one need to have food provided in the middle of the duty, at the end of a long day is next to useless and is manifestly unsafe.

Additionally, if a rest period is to be provided, it really must be in the middle of any extended duty, ideally to help prevent the onset of fatigue, to coincide with the provision of food. To have it after the first sector, again is next to useless.

The reporter also advised that it is now company policy, that if there is a planned stop on the ground for more than one hour and five minutes, no meal will be provided to the crew. If there is a delay, cabin crew can contact catering to have a meal on the next sector. The reported issue with this is when there is a delay, the cabin crew do not have time to contact catering and so will not have a meal that day.

Reporter comment 2:

Cabin crew are increasingly going without food over extended duties, which is unsustainable, and many crew, like myself, are of the opinion it will lead to an accident.

Operator's response (Operator 1)

The reporter advised that it is becoming common that during their rostered duty, often over ten hours, they do not receive food or rest until the last sector for the day.

Response: Cabin crew are provided meals on single-catered flights up to 1 hour 50 minutes between the hours of 0500–0830, 1200–1330 and 1800–2000. On double-catered services, cabin crew are provided a meal for both sectors. On flights over 1 hour 50 minutes, cabin crew are always provided a meal.

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The reporter advised that on a recent flight they were rostered on a 10:15 duty (which was then extended). None of the three crew members were provided food until the last sector, nearly nine and a half hours after they signed on.

Response: If cabin crew are operating on a pattern similar to the duty reported in this REPCON, and their flights do not operate during a main meal band of breakfast, lunch or dinner, cabin crew are entitled to order a meal where their tour of duty is five or more hours. A cabin crew brief was released to all domestic cabin crew on [date] with instructions and phone numbers on how to order a meal if required.

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The reporter also advised that it is now company policy, that if there is a planned stop on the ground for more than one hour and five minutes, no meal will be provided to the crew.

Response: The company policy regarding meal provision to cabin crew is not related to planned stops on the ground. Meals are provided to cabin crew based on rostered duty time. As indicated in the second response above, should a tour of duty encounter a delay, or does not operate during a meal band, cabin crew are entitled to order a meal through their cabin manager.

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If there is a delay, cabin crew can contact catering to have a meal on the next sector. The reported issue with this is when there is a delay, the cabin crew do not have time to contact catering and so will not have a meal that day.

Response: The cabin crew brief informs crew that is their responsibility to inform the cabin manager if they require a meal during their duty. The cabin manager is to facilitate this ordering on their behalf. Cabin crew are able to notify the cabin manager at the commencement of their duty and order their meal for the required sector prior to their first flight.

 

Cabin crew are increasingly going without food over extended duties, which is unsustainable, and many crew, like myself, are of the opinion it will lead to an accident.

Response: All new inflight services undergo consultation with the Flight Attendants Association of Australia (FAAA) Work Health and Safety representative. All new inflight services are trialled in partnership with the FAAA. No new inflight service is agreed upon and implemented without cabin crew having adequate time for sustenance. As inflight service times can be reduced depending on a number of unforeseen scenarios, cabin crew have the ability to alter the service and then inform the company via their usual reporting channels.

Regulator's response (Regulator 1)

CASA has reviewed the REPCON and is satisfied with the operator’s response.

 
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Last update 29 April 2016