Release #09.001
January 7, 2009

ALPA Champions Rest Requirements for Ultra-Long-Range Flights

WASHINGTON – Capt. John Prater, president of the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), issued the following statement in support of the recently released operations specifications for crew rest on ultra-long-range flights of more than 16 hours.

“ALPA strongly supports both the FAA’s new ultra-long-range crew rest requirements and the innovative approach used to develop them. Together, the FAA, ALPA, and the airlines have made our already safe industry even safer for passengers, crew, and cargo on the world’s longest flights.

“When you consider that the flight- and duty-time limits in use today were created more than 60 years ago, ultra-long-range flights become new territory for our industry. This new territory, which includes modern science, flight schedules, aircraft equipment, human physiology research, and travel distances, requires an innovative approach to ensuring safety.

“At the FAA’s invitation, ALPA, along with the airlines, worked together to forge new rest requirements that reflect today’s science. The new operations specifications also require data collection on fatigue during ultra-long-haul flights, which will help scientists to learn even more. We strongly believe that this collaborative approach can help our industry successfully address pilot fatigue in other types of flying.

“ALPA is confident that the new operations specifications represent an important step forward in ensuring that pilots are rested and ready to perform while flying passengers and cargo on long, international routes. ALPA calls on the FAA to apply the same scientific approach to modernize the current rules for flights that are under 16 hours.

“While safety is clearly the goal in developing the new operations specifications, these new requirements do not resolve the urgent need to overhaul existing flight- and duty-time limits to develop modern, science-based regulations that govern all types of flying, including nighttime or ‘back-side-of-the-clock,’ short-haul, long-range, and ultra-long-range.”

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilots union representing 52,500 pilots at 36 airlines in the United States and Canada.

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