The Independent Pilots Association (IPA) is continuing its fight in the U.S. Court of Appeals for better rest rules for pilots flying freighter aircraft.
The union, which represents pilots who work for freight carrier UPS are seeking a court order which will ensure that U.S. regulators reconsider the ruling which exempts crews flying freighter aircraft from the new pilot rest rules.
The IPA is insisting that the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) decision to exclude cargo carriers from the new ruling is wrong and that it ignores available sleep and fatigue needs of
the freighter pilots.
The FAA keeps splitting pilots into two classes
Ironically, the IPA criticizes the FAA regulations for its analysis that the costs incurred by freighter carriers would be too high if stricter pilot rest rules were introduced.
The union has been battling for years with the FAA to get them to give cargo carrier pilots the same rest conditions as their colleagues who fly passenger aircraft have.
In a recent article in the Flight International, the IPA states that “the scientific information on fatigue does not support the FAA’s exclusion of all-cargo operators from the final rule.”
Pilot fatigue has been a source of concern for some years and there are incidents and accidents, which have been traced back to the lack of rest and overwork on those up front on the flight deck.
Fatigue increases risks enormously
The new FAA ruling for passenger pilots came largely as a result of the Colgan Air passenger aircraft accident back in 2009.
A UPS Airbus A300 freighter accent in 2013 in Birmingham, Alabama, where both pilots lost their lives, has been put down to pilot overwork and fatigue.
The carrier’s management have, despite this accident, resisted from subjecting their pilots to stronger rest rules.
How many more accidents need to happen before freighter pilots in the U.S. get the same rest benefits and safety that their passenger colleagues enjoy?
John Mc Donagh