Release #10.39
September 16, 2010  

ALPA: FAA Proposal Promises to Combat Pilot Fatigue  

WASHINGTON – Capt. John Prater, president of the Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA), issued the following statement following his testimony (written/oral) before the U.S. House Aviation Subcommittee regarding the FAA’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on airline pilots’ flight- and duty-time limits and minimum rest requirements.  

“It is difficult to overstate the importance of combating pilot fatigue to ALPA’s nearly 53,000 members who fly for 38 airlines in the United States and Canada.  

“Airline pilots owe a debt of gratitude to U.S. House Aviation Subcommittee Chairman Jerry Costello (D-IL), Full U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman James Oberstar (D-MN), Ranking Members John Mica (R-FL) and Thomas Petri (R-WI), and to every member of this subcommittee.  

“This subcommittee has championed desperately needed improvements to our country’s outdated and ineffective flight- and duty-time limits and minimum rest requirements. These efforts came to fruition on August 1, when the President signed H.R. 5900 into law. This law played an essential role in the release of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.  

“In addition, ALPA pilots applaud Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood and FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt. This proposal would not exist without their leadership and commitment.  

“Our union has long pursued modern, science-based flight- and duty-time and minimum rest regulations that would apply to all airline pilots, regardless of the size of the equipment they fly or whether they carry cargo or passengers.  

“In 2007, I created an ALPA Blue Ribbon Panel on Pilot Fatigue to review the science and recommend an action plan for the union. In 2009, ALPA adopted a landmark pilot fatigue policy. Last year, we co-chaired and were represented by seven pilots on the FAA’s Flight and Duty Time Limitations and Rest Requirements Aviation Rulemaking Committee.  

“ALPA is very pleased that the FAA has released a regulatory proposal. Guided by ALPA’s policy, our union’s Flight Time/Duty Time Committee is carefully reviewing the NPRM. The committee includes ALPA pilot safety experts from the range of Part 121 flying, including regional, domestic, international, and cargo operations.  

“While ALPA looks forward to submitting our full comments to the FAA, I would like to offer some initial observations about the proposal. We are very encouraged by many aspects.  

“All these factors mark important progress. Our union has, however, found several areas in its preliminary analysis in which the NPRM does not adequately reflect the ARC’s recommendations.  

The NPRM does not ensure that the length and quality of rest after a long-range flight across multiple time zones is sufficient before the next flight and duty period. We have concerns that the application of the augmented flight and duty period table will not adequately address the circadian disruption that the flight crewmember may experience during certain types of long-range flying.

The proposal does not assess the effects of increasing the amount of block time in a duty period up to 10 hours.  

“After many attempts and many years, and staunch advocacy by ALPA and others, the FAA has developed a proposed rule that has the potential to make significant improvements in flight- and duty-time regulations and create a safer system for passengers, shippers, and all who depend on air transportation.  

“The law now requires the FAA to publish new pilot flight- and duty-time rules no later than July 31, 2011. We know that this committee will be watching the agency closely to ensure that it meets that deadline. So will the Air Line Pilots Association, International.”  

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilots union, representing nearly 53,000 pilots at 38 airlines in the United States and Canada.  


Contact: Linda Shotwell, 703/481-4440 or