The Air Line Pilots (ALPA) union is asking Congress to pass the Safe Skies Act of 2013, which would set one standard of fatigue rules for all pilots. Currently, under a rule issued by the Federal Aviation Administration last year, only passenger pilots are required to operate under flight- and duty-time limits that protect them from excessive fatigue and the possible dangers they face if they become too tired to properly fly their plane. Pilots who fly cargo planes currently operate under a weaker standard.
Capt. Lee Moak, president of ALPA, applauded Reps. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) and Tim Bishop (D-N.Y.), the sponsors of the bill:
Current science leaves no doubt that airline pilots don’t experience fatigue differently based on whether they fly passengers or cargo in their aircraft. All airline pilots deserve a standard level of safety. If passed, the Safe Skies Act of 2013 will ensure that both passenger and all-cargo pilots are equally protected from this serious safety threat to all who depend on air transportation.
ALPA was fully engaged in the FAA’s Aviation Rulemaking Committee regarding pilot fatigue and has long maintained that the new flight- and duty-time limits and minimum rest requirements must cover all airline pilots. If passed, this act would direct the U.S. Department of Transportation to apply the FAA’s fatigue rules to all-cargo operations, just as the regulations currently apply to passenger flights.
We commend Rep. Bishop and Rep. Grimm for introducing the bill because it would result in a safer U.S. air transportation system and help ensure that this nation continues to set the world standard for aviation safety.