ALPA Says Pilot Work Rules Are Unsafe

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Pilot fatigue for years has been listed on the NTSB's "Most Wanted List" for aviation safety improvements, and the subject will be explored further in a hearing before the House Subcommittee on Aviation next week. This week, John Prater, president of the Air Line Pilots Association, talked to the Memphis Commercial Appeal about the issues. "[Airline pilots] are flying 15 to 25 percent more hours than they were before the bankruptcy era," he said. But worse are changes in the work rules that determine time away from home and other details. "The work rules are really safety issues, and now we are seeing the impact," he said. The rules don't take into account the fatigue that accompanies late-night shifts, he said. Also, more pilots are working extra routes now to make up for pay cuts imposed when airlines went into bankruptcy. "We're seeing a shortage of pilots coming to the industry," Prater said, "because it no longer provides a lifestyle and benefits." The House subcommittee will review the "Most Wanted" list next Wednesday, June 6, at 10 a.m.