FAA Rejects Call to Expand Rest Rule to Cargo Operators

The agency reiterates that cargo airlines are free to adopt the rule voluntarily and said its new Supplemental Regulatory Impact Analysis provides even more economic evidence for excluding cargo.

The Federal Aviation Administration will not include cargo operations in its pilot fatigue rule, with the agency's Dec. 12 Federal Register publication of a Supplemental Regulatory Impact Analysis indicating there is even more economic evidence for excluding cargo than FAA originally estimated -– benefits of up to $31 million versus costs of $550 million, according to the analysis.

Several of the major pilots' professional organizations have called the exemption a mistake, and the Independent Pilots Association (representing United Parcel Service pilots) challenged it in December 2011 in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. At FAA's request, that court delayed the legal challenge while FAA conducted the additional analysis.

Capt. Robert Travis, president of the Independent Pilots Association, responded to the new FAA announcement in a statement: "We still reject the application of a cost benefit analysis on the FAA's Flightcrew Member Duty and Rest Requirements; we do not believe that it was Congress' intent to address the important issue of pilot fatigue only if the price-is-right. Having initially reviewed the FAA's Initial Supplemental Regulatory Impact Analysis, we find it to be flawed, just like its original analysis that was used to carve out cargo carriers. The IPA will file detailed comment on the ISRIA and will release more details at that time."

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