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Fri, Jul 01, 2011

ALPA: The Time Is Now For New Airline Pilot Rest Rules

Pilots Association Says Further Delay Risks Safety

ALPA, submitted supplemental comments Thursday to the FAA urging the regulator to dismiss groundless stall tactics by some in industry and issue the flight- and duty-time regulations and minimum rest requirements for airline pilots that are urgently needed to ensure the safety of air transportation.

“Over the past two years, the FAA, the airlines, and airline employees have joined together in a tremendous effort to develop flight- and duty-time regulations and minimum rest requirements for airline pilots that are based on sound science,” said Capt. Lee Moak, ALPA’s president. “No justification exists for delaying the result of this unprecedented collaboration when new rules are needed now to safeguard passengers, crews, and cargo.”

In its supplemental comments, ALPA cited the federal law that mandates that the FAA issue a final flight limitation rule by August 1, 2011, and emphasized that any delay would be in violation of the will of Congress and of the American people.

ALPA underscored in its submission that issuing a regulation now would not preclude airlines from incorporating new science into Fatigue Risk Management Programs as it becomes available. If future science were to warrant amendment of the regulation, an established mechanism exists to request such a review.

In addition, the world’s largest pilots union highlighted the provisions in the proposed regulations that provide the Department of Defense (DOD) with flexibility for charter operations that move troops and equipment vital to the national defense. Through these provisions, the use of Fatigue Risk Management Programs, and the installation of pilot rest facilities on DOD charter aircraft, only a small percentage of current DOD flying would require adjustment under the proposed regulations.

“The proposed pilot rest regulations are built on sound science, allow for new research to be included in airline operations, and feature provisions that give the airlines flexibility when needed to provide military lift for the national defense,” concluded Capt. Moak. “The FAA must safeguard air transportation for all who rely on it and issue the new airline pilot rest regulations by the August 1 deadline.”



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