Airline crew schedules are typically irregular and involve duties that encroach the night. Crew are being exposed to extended workdays and compressed work periods, with quick returns between duties. Such schedules contribute to fatigue and thus an increased risk of human error. Compared to people who are well-rested, those who are sleep-deprived think and react more slowly, make more mistakes, and have memory difficulties. This is especially problematic for airline personnel (i.e. pilots and cabin crew members) performing critical safety duties.
In 2011, ICAO SARPs enabling Fatigue Risk Management System (FRMS) as an alternative means of compliance to prescriptive limitations were developed for aeroplane flight and cabin crew (Annex 6, Part I). Since then, similar FRMS SARPs were made applicable for helicopter flight and cabin crew in 2018 (Annex 6, Part III, Section II). The fatigue management amendments to the Annex 6, Part I, in 2011 led many States to reviewing their prescriptive limitation regulations for pilots and cabin crew based on scientific principles and knowledge. Many operators are still in the process of following up on these amendments and improving the management of fatigue-related risks in their operations in a step-wise manner.
With its operational experience and scientific knowledge NLR has the required capabilities to support airlines in improving the management of fatigue-related risks in their operations. We realize that every fatigue management program is unique. For this reason we offer our support in a modular, tailored way.