FAA Affirms Cargo Airlines Exempt From Safety Rule


Pilots in commercial cargo operations will not be subject to the same rest and duty-time rules that apply to pilots who work for passenger-carrying airlines, the FAA affirmed on Tuesday. The FAA reviewed its final rule on the matter, issued in January 2012, in response to comments made on its financial analysis. A fresh analysis found the new rules would cost the cargo airlines about $452 million, and would produce only about $10 million in benefits. The Air Line Pilots Association and several other groups had raised questions regarding whether the FAA is allowed to consider cost and benefits at all in flight and duty time regulations. In its analysis, the FAA said yes it can, and no changes will be made to the final rule.

ALPA argued that the law requires the FAA to issue a rule based upon the “best available scientific information . . . to address problems related to pilot fatigue” and financial concerns should not be a part of the analysis. The FAA’s decision to exclude all-cargo operations from the rule was based solely on cost considerations, according to ALPA, and failed to satisfy these statutory mandates. ALPA also said the law approved by Congress, which mandated the rule changes, did not include costs and benefits as factors for consideration. The FAA said Congress stated the FAA could consider in its rulemaking any matters the FAA administrator “considers appropriate.” The FAA added that its financial analysis takes into account the dollar value of potential lives lost and injuries to crew, passengers and people on the ground if cargo carriers continue to operate under the current rest rules.