Pilots Complain Of Fatigue, Management Of Regs

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If you're tired of hearing about airline problems, pilots say they are quite literally tired of living them. The Air Line Pilots Association says fatigue complaints are on the rise as airlines try to squeeze as much value out of their pilots' time as regulations will allow. Pilots on domestic flights are limited to eight hours of stick time a day but the length of their "duty day," which includes preflight and post-flight duties (aside from travel to and from locations for rest), is growing, claims ALPA President Duane Woerth. "It used to be 80 percent of the industry had a 14 hour duty day. But now most of that is gone. It's just gone," Woerth told reporters. And now JetBlue is pushing for a longer flying day as well. The budget carrier said the eight-hour maximum shouldn't be etched in stone. "We don't think pilot scheduling rules are sacred cows. They should be open to examination," said JetBlue spokeswoman Jenny Dervin. Woerth said JetBlue is looking to improve its bottom line by making pilots fly longer but Dervin said the opposite is true. She said the airline is trying to see if changing flying hours would improve the quality of life of pilots. "We don't see any financial benefit to our business whatsoever," Dervin said.