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UPS Pilots Take FAA To Court Over Fatigue Rules

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The Independent Pilots Association (IPA) filed a lawsuit Thursday on behalf of UPS pilots in an effort to force the FAA to include cargo carriers in new pilot rest rules finalized Wednesday. The FAA saw fit to apply the new rules to passenger flights only. It found that forcing cargo carriers to adhere to the new rest rules would cost that branch of the industry $214 million. An attorney for the pilots' union cited some of the FAA's other findings -- specifically that night operations and flying through multiple time zones increase the risk of pilot fatigue. Those conditions may confront cargo pilots as often, or more often, than their passenger-carrying counterparts, and that point was not lost on the pilots' union, or its attorneys.

UPS management believes the FAA's actions have been appropriate, so far. An IPA suit asks the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to review the FAA's decision, arguing that inconsistencies in the application of the new rules present an unacceptably high risk for aviation accidents. UPS spokesman Norman Black said his company is committed to safety and that one-size-fits-all regulation does not fit the bill for crew rest regulations. The FAA, through acting Administrator Michael Huerta and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, have both stated that cargo pilots were not included in the new rules because of cost/benefit considerations. Safety advocates have been pushing for updates to the rest rules for decades. The IPA has enumerated its concerns in a document made available online; click here for the PDF.

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