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New Energy for Fatigue Management

Special Report - SafetyFatigue has been increasingly cited as a factor in accidents.

In response to the need to manage fatigue-related risks, ICAO approved
amendments to Annex 6 Part I to include Fatigue Risk Management Systems (FRMS) Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs).

Utilizing scientific understanding of the relationship between human fatigue and performance, in an effort to manage the balance between what is technically possible with what is humanly possible, is a significant step forward for safety.


The Fatigue Risk Management Systems (FRMS) Implementation Guide for Operators has been jointly developed and released by IATA, ICAO, and the International Federation of Airline Pilots’ Associations (IFALPA). The guide provides valuable insight into the methodology and framework for implementing an effective fatigue management program, and the science supporting it. All of the difficult discussions and negotiations have already been overcome, ensuring that the focus remains on safety and that the approach to managing fatigue is globally consistent and acceptable to all stakeholders.

 “Safety is aviation’s number one priority and we all share in the responsibility to protect the lives of passengers and crews,” says Nancy Graham, ICAO Director, Air Navigation Bureau. “The collaborative process for developing the FRMS Guidance is a perfect example of what can be achieved when we commit to finding and implementing a common solution.”

Airlines now have the opportunity to progress from the prescriptive time-fixed approach that stipulates pilots and crew have a maximum number of work hours during a given time period, to a risk-based approach utilizing the latest scientific principles, together with operational experience and knowledge.
Emirates, Qantas, and Air New Zealand have all trialled the new concept successfully.

Despite these trials, FRMS is a new and complex concept for the vast majority of airlines and regulators. To facilitate a common understanding among all stakeholders of the intent as well as the implications of the ICAO FRMS SARPs, seminars on FRMS will be organized through a series of six workshops in 2012. Operators, regulators and flight crew are all invited and strongly encouraged to attend.

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