Release #08.031
June 20, 2008

ALPA to FAA: Now We Must Act to Address Pilot Fatigue

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), reinforced its call for overhauling current flight- and duty-time regulations for airline pilots based on science, not economics, and leveraging fatigue risk management systems (FRMS) to combat pilot fatigue at the conclusion of the FAA’s Aviation Fatigue Risk Management Symposium this week.

“This week, the FAA gathered a ‘who’s who’ of pilot fatigue experts from government, industry, academia, associations, medical doctors, researchers, and operators, who agreed that a foundation of accurate science must be used to reduce the risk of pilots flying while fatigued,” said Capt. John Prater, ALPA’s president. “Now, we need to act.”

ALPA pilots representing American Eagle, Continental, Delta, FedEx, Mesa, and United took part in the symposium in addition to ALPA staff. ALPA members served on panels concerning international long-haul, trans-continental flights, and multi-leg/short-haul operations. They were engaged throughout the symposium to underscore ALPA’s concerns about flight crew scheduling practices and flight/duty time regulations.

“We owe it to the flying public and ALPA members to put all that we’ve learned this week to use by taking swift and significant action to modernize the FARs and put risk management systems in place at every airline,” 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.

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 recently outlining the fundamental principles of a successful FRMS. A properly structured FRMS can be used together with flight- and duty-time regulations to create efficient operations integrating an enhanced level of safety.

“Any successful solution to the fatigue challenge needs to consider every type of flying that airline pilots do, whether it’s ‘back side of the clock,’ short-haul, long-range, or ultra-long-range,” said ALPA’s Executive Air Safety Chairman, Capt. Rory Kay. “Our industry needs to build on the momentum of this symposium and act decisively to ensure safety.”

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