4th April 2023

Minimum Crew

Initial Report

I was rostered to position to AAA and then operate back 2 days later, the return flight was scheduled to be on an aircraft with a legal minimum crew of 8.

On the morning of the positioning sector to AAA, the crew list changed numerous times due to sickness and crew being pulled to operate other flights. The aircraft departed with 5 crew positioning plus myself (6 in total).

I was advised that crew from a cancelled flight would be positioned out to join me in AAA and make up my crew.

The following day I received a communication advising me that 1 crew member had been sourced to operate the sector home, this meant we would be operating back in over 30+hrs time with 7 crew.  At this point I queried the use of GM1 ORO.CC.205(b)(2) Reduction of the number of cabin crew during ground operations and in unforeseen circumstances  as our own operators manual also states  “on the day of operation”, this was now 30+hrs in advance.

After my second email questioning the legality of the duty, I never received any further response from the company. My crew list did however update and I operated home with 9 crew (minimum crew +1).

CAA Comment

The number of operating cabin crew may be reduced below the regulatory minimum in unforeseen circumstances if the number of passengers carried on the flight is reduced and in accordance with procedures established in the operations manual.

Unforeseen circumstances are defined as incapacitation or unavailability. However, unavailability does not refer to insufficient number of cabin crew, including on standby, owing to absence from work.

CHIRP Comment

Operators are not permitted to plan a flight with less than the minimum number of required crew. This report highlights the importance of questioning something if you don’t think it is right.

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