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Wed, Dec 19, 2012

FAA Plans To Continue To Exclude Cargo Pilots From Latest Duty Rest Rules

Cites Cost Of Compliance As Primary Reason

The FAA has published in the Federal Register a flight crewmember duty and rest requirements docket that continues to exclude cargo pilots from its more stringent crew rest rules imposed on pilots on airplanes carrying passengers.

The FAA says that in its original Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA), the portion of scheduling costs related to cargo-only operations of air carriers that conduct both passenger and cargo-only operations (mixed operations carriers) were inadvertently excluded from the reported costs of extending the final rule to cargo-only operations. The agency says the Initial Supplemental RIA fixes that omission and that revision has significantly increased the estimates of the stated costs of extending the final rule to cargo-only operations. Due to inclusion of impacts on cargo-only operations, a few air carriers were reclassified for ease of explication.

The FAA said in the filing that it assumed that benefits associated with averting a single catastrophic accident involving a cargo plane would range between $20.35 million and $32.55 million.

In a statement posted on its website, the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) said:

“After reviewing the FAA supplemental cost-benefit analysis of cargo operations in the new Federation Aviation Regulation (FAR) 117 flight-time/duty-time rule generated in response to the Independent Pilots Association suit, ALPA remains committed to ensuring One Level of Safety for all passenger and cargo operations.

“We believe calculating cost versus benefit based on the absence of an aircraft accident and resulting passenger fatalities is a fallacy, and a severe deficiency in the cost-benefit process. Because cargo aircraft do not carry passengers, it’s not surprising that the cost outweighs the benefit, yet cargo aircraft share the skies and airports with airlines conducting passenger operations. While government has shifted to evaluating safety improvements by eliminating accident precursors in other areas, it chose not to do so in this case. ALPA firmly believes that there is no price tag on the safety of our skies.

“We remain committed to pursuing a fix to the flawed cargo cutout from the new flight-time/duty-time rule, both through regulatory action and pursuit of the Safe Skies Act on Capitol Hill.”

The FAA will accept comments on the Initial Supplemental RIA through February 11th.

FMI: Supplemental RIA, www.alpa.org

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