Legislation calls again for air cargo pilots to follow same rest protocol as passenger pilots

By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
January 17, 2013 - LM Editorial

Legislation introduced earlier this month by a bipartisan pair of New York State Congressmen, Reps. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) and Tim Bishop (D-N.Y.) is calling for stricter rest requirements for air cargo pilots.

Entitled the Safe Skies Act of 2013, the bill requires the Secretary of Transportation to modify the final rule relating to flight crew member duty and rest requirements for passenger operations of air carriers to apply to all-cargo operations of air carriers.

This bill is similar to previous legislation regarding cargo pilots rest rules, including the Safe Skies Act of 2012 introduced by Bishop and former Representative Chip Cravaack (R-MN) and a Senate version introduced by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and former Senator Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) in 2012.

The impetus for this bill stems from the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) December 2011 final rule focused on commercial airline pilot scheduling so that “pilots have a longer opportunity for rest before they enter the cockpit.” When this rule was issued, cargo airline pilots were exempted from it.

Alternatively, the FAA said it encouraged air cargo carriers to voluntarily comply with the new rule voluntarily.

As previously reported by LM, the primary components of the FAA’s rule are:
-varying flight and duty requirements based on what time the pilot’s day begins;
-adjusting the allowable length of a duty period to be based on when the pilot’s day begins, and the number flight segments a pilot is expected to fly, which ranges from 9-14 hours for single crew operations;
-limiting flight time when the plane is moving under its own power before, during or after flight to eight or nine hours depending on the start time of the pilot’s entire flight duty rest period; and
-a 10-hour minimum rest period prior to the flight duty period, which is two hours more than the previous rule, and mandates that a pilot must have an opportunity for eight hours of uninterrupted sleep within the 10-hour rest period.

FAA officials said that the estimated cost of this rule to the aviation industry is $297 million, with the benefits estimated to be between $247 million to $470 million.

Air cargo operators are not required to comply within this rule, as it would be too costly compared to the benefits generated in this portion of the industry, according to the FAA. They added that some cargo airlines have improved rest facilities for pilots to use when cargo is loaded and unloaded at night.

But FAA officials said they are encouraging air cargo carriers to voluntarily comply with the new rule voluntarily.

The fact that air cargo carriers are not required to abide by these rules was not well received by the Allied Pilots Association (APA), the certified collective bargaining agent for the 10,000 pilots of American Airlines.

“We strongly object to exempting cargo carriers from the new rules,” said APA President Captain Dave Bates in a December 2011 statement. “A fatigued pilot is a fatigued pilot, whether their aircraft contains passengers or cargo. 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. 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.”

Washington, D.C.-based Airforwarders Association (AfA) Executive Director Brandon Fried said in a previous interview that most of the AfA’s forwarder members are traditionally non-asset based and might charter air cargo planes, with the clear victors in this case being express carriers.

Comparing cargo pilots to passenger pilots, said Fried, can almost be viewed as an apples-to-oranges comparison.

“One size does not fit all,” he said. “Cargo pilots for the most part fly about half of the amount of time as passenger pilots do. FedEx, UPS, or TNT might lift off at 11 p.m. and fly into a regional hub and get some break time and then return by 3 or 4 a.m., which is not the same as a passenger pilot flying across the country…and not being cognizant of what is going on due to a lack of sleep. I don’t see the comparison there.”

Air cargo carriers told LM that from their perspective, the FAA appropriately recognized that cargo and passenger operations require different fatigue mitigation measures, explaining that one size does not fit all when it comes to crew rest regulations.



About the Author

Jeff Berman headshot
Jeff Berman
Group News Editor

Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


Subscribe to Logistics Management magazine

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your
entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Recent Entries

Transportation stakeholders reliant on North Carolina’s major seaports are welcoming news this week, which outlines plans to enhance the intermodal and cold chain network in the region.

The index ISM uses to measure non-manufacturing growth—known as the NMI—was 56.9 in February, which was 0.2 percent ahead of January and also 0.1 percent ahead of the 12-month average of 56.8. Economic activity in the non-manufacturing sector has grown for the last 61 months, according to ISM.

Non asset-based third-party logistics (3PL) services and logistics technology services provider Transplace said today that Brooks Bentz has joined the company in a newly-created role as president of Transplace Consulting in conjunction with the launch of the company’s new North American consulting services practice.

The advent of e-commerce continues to grow and gain increased traction over time. The many ways for consumers to order and purchase goods online continues to expand and leads to various subsequent byproducts of online purchases, including shopping through multiple channels, and delivery and payment options, among other things. These types of topics serve as the thesis in the second annual UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper Global Study issued this week by UPS and comScore Inc.

A major highlight of CEVA’s fourth quarter performance was its new business wins, which were up 14 percent for all of 2014, with Freight Management wins up 14 percent, and Ocean Freight and Air Freight wins up 30 percent and 14 percent, respectively, while Contract Logistics wins were up 2 percent.

About the Author

Jeff Berman, News Editor
Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. Contact Jeff Berman.

Comments

Post a comment
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.


© Copyright 2015 Peerless Media LLC, a division of EH Publishing, Inc • 111 Speen Street, Ste 200, Framingham, MA 01701 USA