Fatigue is a shared challenge and a shared responsibility


It's about safety

Most people have experienced how it can be harder to do one's job if they are exhausted due to lack of sleep – a phenomenon also known as 'fatigue'. In aviation contexts, fatigue is typically caused by sleep deprivation, which can arise due to long and changing work hours or altered circadian rhythms.

Fatigue can mean that pilots and cabin crew are unable to perform their tasks effectively and safely, which in the worst-case scenario can be a contributing factor to incidents and, in extreme cases, accidents, because fatigue can cause judgment to fail in critical situations.

It is highly important for both airlines and individual employees to prevent fatigue to maintain the high level of safety in aviation.

A shared responsibility

It is a shared challenge and a shared responsibility to gather more knowledge about fatigue and help ensure that more employees feel comfortable reporting fatigue when it occurs.

In everyone's interest

Both employees, airlines, trade unions, and the Danish CAA (Trafikstyrelsen) have an interest in aviation personnel coming to work refreshed - partly to maintain a high level of safety in aviation, but also to take care of the individual employee's health.

What symptoms are there of fatigue?

The symptoms can vary from person to person, but the typical symptoms are:

  • Increased tiredness and a constant or sudden need for sleep.
  • Reduced concentration and slower decision-making
  • Mood swings and increased irritability
  • Muscle aches, heavy eyelids, or headaches.

What should your employer do to prevent fatigue?


Authorities and airlines must adhere to specific rules and guidelines to handle and reduce fatigue in the aviation industry. These rules, set by EASA and ICAO, include limitations on working hours, requirements for rest periods, and considerations regarding circadian rhythms.

The aim is to ensure that flight crews are well-prepared and capable of performing their tasks safely.

Managing fatigue is crucial to maintaining a high level of flight safety and preventing accidents related to reduced pilot performance.

What can you do to avoid fatigue?

Authorities and airlines have a great responsibility to prevent fatigue, but there is also much that you must do yourself as an employee in aviation. This includes:

  • Ensure to rest after a long flight so that you are well-rested before the next flight.
  • Prevent jet lag and prepare for a new time zone if you will be staying there for an extended period. Otherwise, you should stick to your own time schedule.
  • Share your work schedule with your family so that you can plan family and leisure activities accordingly.


Reports are important!

Reports from pilots and cabin crew are fundamental to reducing the causes of fatigue.

When you report fatigue, there are some mandatory fields you need to fill out. This includes information about where and when you experience fatigue.

Additionally, there may be other specific mandatory fields depending on the type of organization you work for.

The good fatigue report


The good fatigue report is detailed. In fact, we prefer to have too many details than too few. It is the details that allow airlines as well as our aviation inspectors to assess the extent of fatigue and to systematize the reports and conduct focused inspections.

If it concerns accumulated fatigue – meaning that you experience fatigue over a longer period, where several factors lead up to it, then it is important that you describe the entire process in detail.

Remember, your report is important as it helps prevent incidents and, in the worst-case scenario, accidents.

"My duty period comprised three consecutive days with early starts, each day beginning before 06:00. This left minimal time for rest and recovery.

The duty started with a flight from A to B. That route is known for its demanding nature due to frequent turbulence and difficult landing conditions. Subsequently, I experienced a delay due to technical issues with the aircraft, resulting in me arriving later than planned at my hotel.

At the hotel, the noise level from a nearby construction site made it impossible for me to fall asleep. After an hour of tossing and turning, I decided to ask for another room. The staff was accommodating and found a quieter room for me, but the damage was done – I only managed to sleep sparingly for about 2 hours before my next check-in early the next morning.

The end of the duty period included a night flight. On this flight, I also experienced significant stress due to a medical emergency on board, requiring extra attention and coordination.

Throughout the return flight, I felt extremely exhausted, and my concentration was significantly impaired. After landing and a long drive home, I was so tired that I could barely remember the journey.

Finally hitting my own bed, I was exhausted after being awake for over 30 hours."

"I felt very sleepy when flying home on day 4 of a demanding schedule."

Would you like to receive more information?

If you are interested in reading more about fatigue, please write to us. We will be happy to send you our brochure on the subject, which you can read yourself or distribute at your workplace.

Please specify the desired quantity and the relevant address.

If you would like to receive a digital version of the brochure, that is also possible.

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