Flight-Time/Duty-Time Carve-out for Supplementals Withdrawn, ALPA Priorities Advance

February 16, 2011 - On the heels of ALPA’s news media briefing reiterating the union’s priorities and underscoring the importance of being the voice of airline pilots, ALPA learned that Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) withdrew his amendment to the FAA reauthorization bill that would have exempted some all-cargo and charter air carriers from the pending flight- and duty-time rules.

The amendment withdrawal is a victory for ALPA, which has been opposed to this new language since the amendment’s introduction on February 7.

Immediately after learning about the proposed amendment, the union began a grassroots Call to Action campaign within its membership. Within days of the campaign, more than 3,000 pilots had acted, writing letters to their senators in opposition to the proposed amendment.

“We are encouraged by the rational decision to withdraw the amendment from the FAA bill and commend Sen. Inhofe for doing so,” Capt. Moak said. “This action is one step closer to a solid, clean bill that funds the FAA and provides funding for NextGen and other programs that will help ensure the safety of our industry. And, we thank every pilot who responded to our Call to Action – it proves that ALPA has a powerful voice when we speak as one.”

The topic of FAA reauthorization and flight-time/duty-time rules was discussed at length during Capt. Moak’s news media briefing. He reiterated on several occasions the need for, “one level of safety [and] science-based flight-time/duty-time rules without exception regardless of the type of flying.”

At one point, a reporter asked regarding flight-time/duty-time regulations, “No exceptions?” Moak replied, “Absolutely no exceptions. We believe in one level of safety. It’s hard to argue with that.”

Moak said a key starting point to advancing safety in our already extraordinarily safe air transportation system is passing the FAA reauthorization act, currently in its 17th extension.

“It is the foundation needed to achieve a modern infrastructure that provides safe and efficient air transportation to drive this country’s economy and create jobs for its citizens, he said. “ALPA pilots recognize the FAA’s essential leadership role in setting regulatory standards and conducting oversight over the range of safety issues that affect airline operations. Congress must pass a solid reauthorization bill that well positions the FAA to do its job.”

Other topics discussed during the news media briefing were pilot training, consolidation, the projected pilot shortage, and negotiating pilot contracts.

“On the issues that matter most to our pilots, including flight- and duty-time and minimum rest requirements, bankruptcy reform, airspace modernization, and maintaining good careers for pilots working today and those who will join our ranks tomorrow, I will engage and challenge regulators, legislators on both sides of the aisle, airline management, and everyone whose actions affect our industry to join me in making the U.S. airline industry sustainable, safe, and secure,” Moak said.