Cargo Carriers Exempt From New FAA Rules, Pilots Union Encourages UPS to Opt In

by Gabe Bullard on December 21, 2011

UPS and other cargo carriers will be exempt from sweeping new Federal Aviation Administration guidelines on pilot rest.

The regulations for passenger-aircraft pilots mandate fewer monthly and weekly flight hours and call for more rest time before flights. However, UPS and other cargo carriers argued that the rules would cost millions of dollars in business.

UPS spokesman Mike Mangeot says UPS has its own regulations for pilot rest and they are effective.

“If you look at the whole cargo industry, for about the past decade, cargo carriers have conducted more than 7.6 million flights with no fatigue-related accidents,” he says. “And if you go back about 30 years, the NTSB has cited just two accidents in which fatigue was a factor. And in neither case would the proposed rules have prevented those accidents.”

The company’s current pilot rest guidelines are part of the agreement with the union, which is not a public document.

In a statement, the president of the local Independent Pilots Association says UPS should opt in to the rules until they are required by law to follow them.

“Giving air cargo carriers the choice to opt-in to new pilot rest rules makes as much sense as allowing truckers to ‘opt-out’ of drunk driving laws.

To potentially allow fatigued cargo pilots to share the same skies with properly rested passenger pilots creates an unnecessary threat to public safety. We can do better.

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