Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon have a complex passenger and freighter route network with pilots based all over the world and living in vastly different time zones.
This has created a challenging task in pilot rostering and fatigue management. Consequently, managing pilot fatigue risk is an important component of the SMS. During 2016, we continued to develop and mature the Fatigue Risk Management System (FRMS), which was established in 2011.
The aim of the FRMS is to complement the existing HK CAD Approved Flight Time Limitations Scheme (AFTLS), which aim to ensure that crew members have had an adequate amount of time to rest prior to commencing a duty period, and that the duration and timing of individual duty periods will enable them to operate safely and efficiently in all situations.
The FRMS complements the AFTLS by introducing an evidence-based, data-driven system with reactive, proactive and predictive elements that are used to continuously monitor and control fatigue-related safety risk to a level that is ‘As Low As Reasonably Practicable’ (ALARP).
At Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon, we value our flight crew, thus we believe firmly in the FRMS. We understand the importance of taking the appropriate measures, supporting procedures and training to ensure that our flight crew are not subjected to unacceptable levels of work-related fatigue. Flight crew also have a personal obligation to minimise fatigue so that they are fit when reporting for duty and shall not perform any duty if they consider their fatigue level to be unacceptable.
There are currently no HK CAD regulatory requirements for local aircraft operators to have this additional FRMS. Nevertheless, Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon have implemented a system that far exceeds current HK CAD regulations pertaining to the management of pilot fatigue.
Fatigue Risk Management Initiatives in 2016
In 2016, the FRMS continued to evolve by conducting studies to answer specific operational questions, increasing internal communication and serving on international fatigue forums and taskforces.
Fatigue-related safety risks were identified via fatigue reporting (Air Safety Reports – Fatigue (ASR-Fs)), and extensive analysis using fatigue software (FAST). As a result, changes were made to rostering practices for both Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon to mitigate these risks. In addition to these routine processes, the FRMS conducted studies to answer specific operational questions. For example, a series of flight patterns were trialed and studied by the FRMS throughout 2016, one of which was approved for continued operation.
Tailored flight crew communications continued via the FRMS Bulletin, a regular newsletter to update crew on FRMS activities, for Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon. An FRMS article also appeared in the 2016 issue of the Group Safety Magazine regarding an actigraphy study conducted in 2015 that used wrist-worn devices to record sleep which was then used to predict fatigue levels.
Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon’s FRMS experience is much sought after by industry groups. In 2016, the Group Safety Manager – FRMS continued to serve on the Management Committee of the International FRMS Forum and on the IATA FRMS Taskforce, including presenting on behalf of the IATA FRMS Task Force at the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Symposium on Fatigue Management Approaches.
Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon are industry leaders in FRMS, and we will continue to develop and mature the FRMS throughout 2017 and beyond.