Release #08.029
June 10, 2008

NTSB Echoes Pilots’ Concerns about Fatigue

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), urged the FAA and airlines to address pilot fatigue with a two-pronged strategy of updating flight- and duty-time regulations and implementing fatigue risk management systems (FRMS) at a sunshine meeting held today by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

“We strongly agree with the NTSB; the FAA must pursue improved, science-based flight- and duty-time regulations to make certain that airline pilots in both passenger and cargo operations are well rested and ready to safely perform their jobs,” said Capt. John Prater, ALPA’s president. “At the same time, the airlines must put science-based fatigue risk management systems in place as another critical layer to aid pilots in mitigating fatigue.”

“Current regulations fail to take into account today’s science, flight schedules, aircraft equipment, human physiology, and travel distances,” said Capt. Don Wykoff, chairman of ALPA’s Flight Time/Duty Time Committee and chairman of the Association’s Blue Ribbon Panel on Pilot Fatigue. “This is a pressing issue at both mainline and regional airlines, where high-frequency operations, long-range flight, or long duty days can create serious fatigue concerns.”

ALPA supports fatigue risk management systems as a complement to, but not a substitute for, a modern, science-based regulatory structure. ALPA released a white paper today that outlines the fundamental principles of a successful FRMS, which is a scientifically based, data-driven process used to continuously monitor and manage fatigue risks. A properly structured FRMS should be used together with flight- and duty-time regulations to create efficient operations integrating an enhanced level of safety.

ALPA underscored that any successful solution to the fatigue challenge must be comprehensive and address all flying, including “back side of the clock,” short-haul, long-range, and ultra-long-range.

“ALPA created a Blue Ribbon Panel on Pilot Fatigue in 2007 to review the science and recommend actions for our union to pursue in taking on this extremely important safety and quality-of-life issue,” concluded Prater. “ALPA takes this issue extremely seriously and will remain fully engaged in regulator and industry efforts to address pilot fatigue.”

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilots union, representing 55,000 pilots at 40 airlines in the United States and Canada.

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Contacts: Linda Shotwell, Molly Martin, 703/481-4440 or