Air Line Pilots Association, International
FDX Master Executive Council

1770 Kirby Parkway, Suite 300  |  Memphis, TN  38138
Ph: 901.752.8749  |  1.866.FDX.ALPA  |  Fax: 901.752.9097

Release #14.FDX
January 8, 2014

New Flight and Duty Rules Not for All Pilots

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — On January 4, 2014, the new science-based flight-time/duty-time (FTDT) regulation by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Department of Transportation (DOT) went into effect for those air carriers operating under Federal Aviation Regulation (FAR) Part 117. This regulation recognizes the universal factors that lead to fatigue in most individuals and emplaces safeguards in regulatory language to help offset these factors so flightcrew members can mitigate fatigue. While this new regulation was years in development and intended for all air carriers operating under FAR121, not all were given access to this new set of science-based regulations.

During the new regulation’s final phase of government acceptance, all-cargo carriers such as FDX and UPS were excluded and left to continue to work under antiquated Part 121 regulations. Industry’s reasoning was that it was uneconomical to burden these types of operations with the additional cost for safety. Furthermore, the FAA determined that the societal benefits of additional safeguards did not warrant the inclusion of all-cargo carriers.

The exclusion affects the FedEx Express pilots. FDX Master Executive Council (MEC) chairman Capt. Scott Stratton stated, “Cargo pilots fly the same aircraft, the same routes, within the same airspace, and into the same airports as passenger airlines. Moreover, cargo operations often take place at night or early morning for express delivery of packages, working what is commonly referred to as the ‘graveyard shift,’ thus increasing pilot fatigue. It does not make sense for the world leader in airline safety, the FAA, to exclude cargo operations from science-based rules.”

The FDX MEC has worked for the last two years to undo this exclusion through legislative efforts. The FDX MEC Legislative Affairs Committee works to educate legislators on the pitfalls of exempting all-cargo airline operations from mandatory compliance of the new pilot fatigue rules, building support in Congress to pass H.R. 182/S. 1692, the Safe Skies Act, which would require the inclusion of cargo pilots and undo this critical oversight by the FAA.

The FAA and DOT have made significant strides using science-based data to decrease fatigue in the cockpit with the new FTDT regulation. Unfortunately, fatigue does not discriminate between passenger- or cargo-carrying pilots. As National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Deborah Hersman said best, “A tired pilot is a tired pilot, whether there are 10 paying customers on board or 100, whether the payload is passengers or pallets.”

“As we move further into the New Year and as FAR Part 117 becomes the guiding basis for combating fatigue, it is incumbent that all air line pilots are afforded the same level of safety,” Stratton commented. “Then and only then can it be said that the U.S. air transportation system is, in fact, the safest in the world.”

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SOURCE: Air Line Pilots Association
CONTACT: FDX ALPA, Courtney Bland, 901-842-2220 or