Reporting point ORO.FTL.105 (2): The global COVID-19 pandemic necessitated, on a number of occasions, a change to the typical aircrew reporting point. How should the operators address this change?
Aircrew typically used to report for duty at a crew room, at their home base or at outstation. The global COVID-19 pandemic caused disruptions in flight operations and necessitated, on a number of occasions, a change to the typical aircrew reporting point. Here below are some considerations that operators and aircrew should account for when addressing such change.
Notification to crew members. The operator must inform the crew about any change of the reporting point prior to operating as this is part of operator’s responsibilities under ORO.FTL.110.
Travelling time to the reporting point. Due to the change of reporting point, the otherwise duty time may turn into travelling time, thus extending the usual travelling time that a crew member is accustomed or prepared for. Therefore, the operator should make sure that the impact of the change of reporting point on traveling time and consequently on crew fatigue is not significant. The operator’ SMS has to manage the change of reporting point by assessing the potential negative impact on aircrew fatigue levels, based on evidence of adequate time frames and/or a comparison between the time necessary to report to the new point and the typical reporting point. In assessing the impact, the operator should account for additional operational factors e.g. standby call out times. The operator should address reporting at a place other than a crew room in the OM.
Commencement of duty. Duty starts from reporting for duty at the reporting point designated by the operator e.g. when the crew member checks-in in a crew room. In cases where the crew member is required by the operator to commence an activity prior to entering a crew room or a non-public area of an airport, so as to obtain flight documents at a check-in counter or ticket office, pass a security checkpoint or update the EFB, the duty starts at the point of commencing this activity. At airports where the crew members can access the non-public area or reach the departing gate through more than one security checkpoints, the operator should make sure that commencement time is the same for the same duty.
Aircrew briefing. The time for aircrew briefing is a duty time no matter where it takes place. If the briefing takes place at the gate where other people are also present, the operator should arrange for a secluded place considering security matters among other things. The size of the crew should not prevent crew members from talking to each other without disturbing and being disturbed. If the briefing takes place on board the aircraft, the operator should ensure that certain conditions are present, such as running APU/GPU, no disturbance from ground personnel or cleaning staff. Where the operator provides EFB, the briefing material should already be uploaded to it or if, new material is to be downloaded, the crew must be provided with means to do so.
Reporting times. The operator should specify in the OM reporting times that account for the type of operation, ground duties, size and type of the aircraft and the airport conditions (GM1 ORO.FTL.205(a)(1)). Ground duties include pre-flight duties (briefings; provision of documentation; transport to the aircraft parking stand, etc.).