Occupational Health & Safety

The FAA final rule explains when the new flight rest requirements take effect.

FAA Clarifies Start of Pilots' Rest Rule

It will apply to flight duty periods starting on or after Jan. 4, 2014, but the agency is allowing carriers to implement it beginning Dec. 9, 2013.

The Federal Aviation Administration has published a clarification that explains precisely when its flight, duty, and rest final rule, intended to ensure flight crew members are not fatigued during flights, takes effect for part 121 passenger operations and some part 91 operations. The date is Jan. 4, 2014, two years after FAA published the rule, and FAA explained in the new document that a flight crew member who begins a duty day prior to Jan. 4 is allowed to complete that duty day according to the previous rest requirements. This was done so crew members wouldn't be confronting the new requirements in the middle of a duty day, FAA noted.

The agency is allowing carriers to implement it beginning Dec. 9, 2013. Airlines for America and the Regional Airline Association asked for an exemption to implement the changes earlier, and American Airlines asked FAA to consider allowing airlines to implement them in a phased approach over a multi-day period, the document states.

It says FAA found that granting exemptions won't have an adverse effect on safety and would be in the public interest. It also says FAA agrees with Airlines for America and the Regional Airline Association that allowing carriers to implement on different days reduces the system's vulnerability that would be "caused by an entire industry switching crew planning software and algorithms on the same day."

FAA stated it will consider individual carriers’ requests for exemptions to allow them to phase in an early transition to the new requirements, but any petition seeking to start before Dec. 1, 2013, will be denied because FAA itself may not be ready before that date to oversee the new regime.

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