Crew rest outrage at Croatia Airlines

Less sleep, more work
Croatia Airlines pilots are outraged after their minimum rest period between return flights has been slashed from six to only three hours. “After a virtually sleepless night, pilots and other cabin crew will return to the aircraft stressed and fatigued which will compromise safety. The company has put cost cutting ahead of safety”, Andre Šarinić, the head of the pilots union at the Croatian carrier said. According to the union, the airline will only save 3.300 Euros per month on hotel accommodation for crew as a result of the new minimum rest rules.

The Croatian Civil Aviation Agency made the decision to cut crew rest hours without consulting the pilots union and without warning. Off duty pilots are expected to protest in front of the building of the Croatian Aviation Agency today. The union claims that the Agency was previously against shedding the six hour crew rest period. The European Cockpit Association which counts 38.600 members has extended its support to its Croatian colleagues.

In its defence, the Croatian Civil Aviation Agency says that the European Union allows for the minimum rest to last for only three hours. “Croatia Airlines now has equal, not greater freedom in terms of flight duties than foreign airlines operating to Croatia, which is one of the basic prerequisites for equal competition“, the Agency says.


  1. JU520 BEGLAX09:24


    I m sure you know some details.

    How many block hours per month do they have?
    Block hours on an average day?
    Max legs per day? probably 4, right?

    let s say they fly last leg of the day MUC or FRA to ZAG and next morning they have to do the FRA or AMS leg, or even DBV leg. Where do they overnight? In a hotel near the airport? How often would such a scenario happen per month?

    It s just to get an idea how bad their working conditions are in real.
    Thanks. Greets from ZRH

  2. Anonymous09:31

    Well, I do not know a lot about that topic and how it is regulated within EU. I think Croatia and CTN, as its National Carrier, should have equal regulations in terms of flight duties as EU based airlines. However, I do not want cockpit crew on my next flight to be tired, exhausted and sleepy. This is just my view as a passenger. CTN cabin crew usually has attitued like they did not sleep for days but it does not concern me that much as cockpit.

  3. Anonymous10:04

    Last Ano.
    You have must be selecting special flights that I have fortunately missed.

    I do not remember ever seeing CTN cabin crew sleepy. Of course, I do not want to say that such situations do not happen. Me personally, never noticed.

  4. Purger10:06

    Yes I know, I am one of organizer of today’s event, but my English is so bad that I can not give you proper information. Ju vil not andrstend it! :-)

  5. Peter from Sydney10:12

    3.3 million euros per month on hotel accommodation, crazy!
    I have no idea how rest breaks work, but surely a crew could do a couple of back to back legs in one day, most flights are quite sort anyway, a couple of hours max.

  6. frequentflyer10:55

    I think we need to seek some clarification on today's posting: does this relate to *overnight* routes, or a minimum rest between return services to from ZAG/SPU/DBV operating in daylight hours? These are two very, VERY different issues at play...

    CCAAs comment also doesn't make sense: how is giving more rest time providing unfair competition?

    Off topic, love OUs new website! About time, easy to navigate and clear!

  7. This is not known @ Adria

    there even overnight flights are not accomodated with hotels for crews and they sleep on the plane for few hours.

    max legs for adria is 6 for many years while duty was extended from 40 to 55 in september (per week)
    do not remember monthy limits but they are near the EU ops regulations.
    100 hours block is limit per month while 900 per year.
    new basic salaries wew cut down so much, like 1200€ netto for copilot A32s. It should not be much bigger as additional things like night hours etc are not calculated anymore. Just sectors are not paid additional (so you get more for 40 flights per month than 10, this was not paid before).
    and small amount of daily wages which are based upon countries you fly to but depends on your duty time, if it is under 8 you get almost nothing.
    And travel expenses to the work are refunded but much lower as before september.

  8. Just sectors -ARE- paid additional...

  9. Purger11:33

    EX-YU aviation news made mistake:
    1. It is not true that «According to the union, the airline will only save 3.3 million Euros per month on hotel accommodation for crew as a result of the new minimum rest rules”
    According to Union and Croatia Airlines management company will save 25.000 kn per month (apx. 3.300 EUR).

    2. Union is not against overnight, and they don’t ask that overnight must be minimum 6 hours. That was not even before changes and they don’t ask for this today. They agree that overnight can be less than 6 hours and that they have to bring back plane to base (so ZAG-ZAD-PUY – overnight – PUY-ZAD-ZAG is OK), but problem is that with new rules after overnight they have obligation to make extra two legs after bringing plane back to base (so ZAG-ZAD-PUY- overnight – PUY-ZAD-ZAG-BRU-ZAG is not OK). That is even harder if they have problems of landing in DBV and they have to reroute to SPU (what is not rare during winter because of extra strong wind in DBV). In that case they have just 3 hours in hotel and they are even more exhausted because of wind!

    How many block hours per month do they have?
    It depends with many factors by company rules like when you take first duty in month, dutytime, overnight etc.

    Block hours on an average day?
    Again it depends, but maximum duty time is 13 hours, and bay captain decision, which all members of crew must agree with, he can extend this up to 3 hours.


  10. This would be a reaction to LCCs whose pilots are subjected to the minimum rest period legally possible. Here in Australia there are many grumbles from the pilot unions that even some of these regulated rest periods are breached by managements and pilots are forced to work past their respective duty times or cut their rest periods short, Jetstar and Tiger seem to be the biggest culprits and I'm assuming LCCs in Europe probably do the same.

    With regards to OU I would like to make a couple of points. If it is rest period during the day then as a pilot I don't see the problem but why bother changing if it would save only 3500 euro's per month. I think there would be bigger saving in that OU may require less pilots to cover its roster thus will be able to reduce the amount of pilots in requires on its books.

    It could not be rest period over night which has to be 10 hours by law plus an extra 15 min for every hour a pilot exceed their duty up to 12 hours then a full 24 hour rest is required.

    This must relate to rest period during duty time where adequate rest area must be provided ie a hotel, an office or a terminal seat is not good enough.

    I think I need more info on this one but to be honest we are not flying high work load aircraft such as DC3s or Lockheed Electra’s these days, which were very draining on pilots, and was the period when these original regulations were written. I think I'm with OU on this one. Sometimes the Unions need to be little more sensible to ensure the members have a job in the future. Remember WTA or Pan Am?

  11. Just had a look at the new OU web site, I think I liked the older one better. Looked more professional and was not that hard to use but needed to be updated more often.

    This one looks very basic, I prefer the old one!

  12. Anonymous13:46

    I dont see the point of going to a hotel for 5 hours!
    For example SKP is a big city and you need about 20min. in best case to reach the first hotels (there is not a hotel near the airport-it will be next year).If the plane lands on time 22:40 they reach the hotel in best case in 23:30!The return flight departs 05:50-they need about an hour for pre take-off preps!This means in best case scenario 5 hours rest-if they dont take shower, dont take clothes off, the plane lands punctually..But I ask myself if this is really a rest?!It would have made a lot more sense if they had a day-off on overnight destination but who wants that?So this doesnt make the difference, but flying 3 legs (SKP-ZAG-BRU-ZAG) after a sleepless night out of your home is really unhuman.What is the situation like in other companies-JU, JP, MA, OS, OK have all overnight flights to SKP!

  13. Anonymous13:46

    Mi Hrvati...! ;)

    Pozdrav svim Bosnjacima, Hrvatima i Slovencima!

  14. Anonymous14:30

    Welcome in EU Croatians !
    Being in EU also means work double so much as before and with 50%
    less money !

    Pilots and cabin crew can do nothing against this ...

  15. Anonymous17:09

    Offtopic: Malev is almost bancrupt! The government will establish a new carrier 2012 with the help of Czech Travel Service!

  16. Thanks Purger for explaining.

    Totally against new rules from any point of view after you explained.

    How can this go thru EU OPS anyway?

    After a duty you need to have rest, or if you have all in one journey log it is a bit of split duty if there was enaugh rest, if not is is the whole duty so in any case you can not work anything after you come home.
    So again, how is this even possible?

    And to add, how is this problem connected to less hotel costs?

  17. Slavonija&Baranja21:05

    Working conditions may be bad but are standard today everywhere in the world!
    Why should it in Croatia be

    Good old times of Yugoslavia are long are also communist style of laziness and doing as little as possible!

    Croatia Airlines is not some crappy airline but member of Star alliance
    ...which has high standards of efficiency!
    There are enough jobless people in Croatia who would be happpy to have a job!

    But maybe now,with the backing of the new Neo-Communist government the unions see an opportunity to ruin economy?

  18. Anonymous00:28

    sorry for offtopic..
    I read somewhere that Germanwings will commence flights from Berlin to BEG.Is this true?

  19. Anonymous05:28


    You may assist.
    What is / are reason / s that OU has no flight to Milan?
    It could be via Rijeka or Pula.

    Lot of Croatians work in Milan traveling each weekend 7 hours by car. Lot of Croatian / Italian businesses exist.
    Milan area is one of most developed on the world and as such the closest to Croatia.
    To my understanding it is very strange that such line does not exist, or am I missing something?

  20. Falcon06:32

    I worked for a company that made us fly long hours and gave us little rest. It was a very dangerous situation.

    But that all changed when the pilots formed a union and put safety first. We just forced the company to follow the rules.
    Our best weapon was one word.... Fatigue !

    Once a pilot used the fatigue word the company was forced to send you to the hotel and give you the amount of rest you requested. Before the union the pilots were afraid to call fatigue for fear of losing their jobs. Now it is a different story, the company has a fatigue program that predicts the possibility of pilot fatigue and shortens your duty day and gives you more rest.

    I wish the pilots at Croatia airlines good luck and encourage them to put safety first. But you must be strong and standup to your management and TELL them you are fatigued. Don't Ask them TELL them.

  21. Purger10:17

    My suggestion to CTN was to make flights to FCO like:





    Suggestion for MXP:






    In same time you have possibility for business passengers to go to PUY or ZAD and come back to ZAG in same day + connections to DBV, SPU, ZAD, SJJ, SKP, PRN, VIE via ZAG (from those to PUY in morning and evening back)

    even option to overnight in MXP would not be bad idea (PUY-ZAD-ZAG is most stupid line because of demotivation for passengers to fly 1:45 hours via ZAD, as you can come to ZAG in 2,5 hours by car, or you will choose TRS, LJU, VCE instead):


    Now when Lufthansa Italy does not exist any more (no more possibilities for connections) it harder to make this line profitable, but still I think that line must be to priority (much better chance for success than OTP, SOF, TIA or even BEG).

  22. Purger10:19

    sorry for mistakes:
    Now when Lufthansa Italy does not exist any more (no more possibilities for connections) is harder to make this line profitable, but still I think that line must be top priority (much better chance for success than OTP, SOF, TIA or even BEG).

  23. Anonymous14:56

    why did OU not implement your suggestions? what was the reason, because you have really great ideas!

  24. Purger17:34

    They did, some of them... Unfortunately just few. But Mr. Tatalovic really read these proposals. Even general director spend with his team of managers, spend some 30 hours for discussing about those proposals.

    Now they study my suggestion for total change of winter time table and economize planes and system to maximum, with 95% of connection possibilities.

  25. Anonymous07:21

    Thanks Purger for your detail description / explanation.

    Glad to hear that something is progressing concerning flights to Milan.


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