Airlines tackle World Cup-related fatigue

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© Andreas Tittelbach

Airlines in China are enforcing strict measures to ensure their pilots get enough sleep while the World Cup is on in Brazil.

Budget carrier Spring Airlines will test its pilots’ blood pressure and ask employees to keep tabs on one another to ensure safety is not compromised.

China Southern Airlines is even taking the drastic step of forbidding staff from discussing football during work hours.

With games being televised live from Brazil between the hours of midnight and 6am, football fans in China will face a tough time getting enough sleep.

The actions of the airlines might sound drastic, but football-related transport accidents have happened before.

In 2000, 82 people were killed when a ferry, Express Samina, ran into a huge outcrop of rocks off the Greek island of Paros, despite the rocks being clearly visible, housing a navigation light and being marked on maritime charts. The ship’s captain later admitted he was asleep at the time of impact and that other crewmen were watching a football match as the ferry headed for the rocks at high speed.

Human factors such as fatigue and distraction play an important role in safety-critical tasks. The Civil Aviation Safety Authority has published various safety kits to help raise awareness and educate people about the often-insidious safety risks that human factors pose.

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