Airlines Question FAA Flight Crew Proposals

Proposed new Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rules on flight crew duty hours came under fire from the Air Transport Association (ATA), which questioned the costs and effectiveness of the new FAA rules.

The ATA filed comments on the proposals that they called “not science based.” The clash is a result of new rules proposed to avoid disasters such as the regional airline crash in Buffalo, NY last year that was attributed to pilot fatigue and other factors.

The ATA called for significant revisions to the proposal.

“The airlines continue to strongly support regulations that demonstrably improve safety performance,” said ATA President and CEO James C. May. “That is why ATA in its role on the Aviation Rulemaking Committee was a strong supporter of a science-based approach to create a new Flightcrew Duty Time Rule. We are very concerned that significant aspects of the proposed rule are not science-based.”

According to May, beyond the core measures that the ATA supports, the rule if implemented as written, “would create onerous and duplicative regulations, which in major respects do not mitigate fatigue or increase safety. These regulations would, however, add significant operational and scheduling complexity that will adversely affect our crews and customers.”

”We are very concerned that the proposed rule reflects a lack of understanding by FAA of how airlines operate,” May continued. “Our concerns are validated by the fact that FAA’s economic analysis is off the mark by at least a factor of 15 in its impact assessment, making it imperative that this proposal be significantly revised.”

May called on FAA to “work with the airlines and other interested parties to fashion a rule that is truly based on scientific research and real operational factors.” Visit

The proposed FAA changes were introduced by Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and FAA administrator J. Randolph Babbitt. LaHood said the new FAA rule offered airlines flexibility and focused on how the nine-hour rest time for pilots was calculated. Visit or

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