Local News

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

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.

Local News Politics

Impasse on FAA Funding Not Affecting Louisville Airport

Congress will continue discussions this week to work out a deal to continue funding the Federal Aviation Administration.

The FAA ran out of money on last Friday and some 4,000 employees were put on furlough. Airport modernization projects were also put on hold this week. None of that should affect the Louisville Airport, though.

Federal officials have stressed that air traffic controllers and airplane inspectors will remain on the job. A spokeswoman for the Louisville Airport says travelers won’t notice any differences, and if any local workers have been furloughed, she hasn’t heard about it.

The stalemate over FAA funding centers over a GOP proposal that would make it harder for workers to unionize and subsidies for rural communities.

Local News

Airport Receives Grant For Relocations, Improvements

by Gabe Bullard

A 9.3 million dollar grant from the Federal Aviation Administration is coming to Louisville.

More than half of the grant will go toward Louisville International Airport’s continuous relocation program for residents affected by noise following the airport’s expansion. The rest of the money will go toward upgrades at the airport, among them, a taxiway that will accommodate larger cargo and passenger aircraft. Airport authority chairman Phil Lynch says the grant will also be used to replace aging snow removal equipment.

“Anybody that had to sit here in the airport during the February storm and deal with the delays that occurred naturally because of snow removal will appreciate the fact that we’re going to be able to replace existing snowblowers with equipment that’s going to be more efficient,” he says.

The airport regularly receives funds for the relocation program, but the rest of the money came from a competitive grant. It was steered toward Louisville with help from Congressman John Yarmuth.

Local News

Airport Execs: Air Traffic Control Upgrades Urgent

Members of the American Association of Airport Executives converge Tuesday at Louisville’s downtown Hyatt Hotel for a 2-day conference about the next generation of airport technology. Association spokesman Alex Gertsen says that participants will hear about new surveillance technologies like satellite and GPS that will replaced antiquated radar. They’ll also tour UPS facilities, where this technology is already in use.

“Louisville airport is one of the most technologically advanced airports in the world. And we’re fortunate to be hear for this first year of the conference and be hosted by the airport that has initiated a lot of these technologies,” Gertsen says.

Gertsen says some of these technologies will be implemented on the passenger side of air travel in the near term. That’s because the Federal Aviation Administration projects that American air travel will double by 2025. And air traffic controllers and airports aren’t ready to handle that. So the FAA, working with airports, is implementing the Nextgen initiative. It’s designed not only to upgrade air traffic control, but to increase airports’ ability to handle more traffic by reconfiguring runways and terminals.