FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ALLIED PILOTS ASSOCIATION TO ASSESS NEW FLIGHT AND DUTY LIMITS FOR PASSENGER CARRIERS, QUESTIONS CARGO EXEMPTION
Fort Worth, Texas (Dec. 21, 2011)—The Allied Pilots Association (APA), certified collective bargaining agent for the 10,000 pilots of American Airlines (NYSE: AMR), voiced support for the release of new flight- and duty-time rules for commercial pilots, but expressed concerns that cargo carriers would be exempt from the new rules.
“At first glance, it appears that some of the new flight- and duty-time rules represent a step forward in fatigue mitigation for commercial pilots,” said APA President Captain Dave Bates. “For example, we are encouraged by the provision for increased rest for pilots from the current eight-hour minimum rest period to 10 hours, which should help provide pilots with an opportunity to sleep a sufficient number of hours before flying.
“However, we strongly object to exempting cargo carriers from the new rules. A fatigued pilot is a fatigued pilot, whether their aircraft contains passengers or cargo,” he said. “Passenger and cargo carriers both operate high-performance jet aircraft in the same congested airspace.
“Safety is paramount in commercial aviation. When somebody makes a mistake in our industry, it can have serious consequences,” Bates said. “And when crewmembers are fatigued, they’re more likely to make mistakes.
“We therefore urge the FAA to reconsider the wisdom of a cargo carrier exemption.”
Bates noted that APA’s flight- and duty-time experts will thoroughly assess the new rules to determine their overall impact on pilots and the industry.
Founded in 1963, the Allied Pilots Association—the largest independent pilot union in the U.S.—is headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas. APA represents the 10,000 pilots of American Airlines (NYSE: AMR), including 649 pilots not yet offered recall from furlough. The furloughs began shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. Also, several hundred American Airlines pilots are on full-time military leave of absence serving in the armed forces. The union’s Web site address is www.alliedpilots.org. American Airlines is the nation’s largest international passenger carrier and fifth-largest cargo carrier.