Legal Challenge Mounted by UPS Pilots to FAA’s Pilot Fatigue Regulation
The Independent Pilots Association, or IPA, an organization representing around 2,700 United Parcel Service pilots, on Thursday has filed a petition with a US federal court, challenging the exemption of the cargo carriers from the new pilot flight time, duty and rest rule that have been finalized by the FAA on Wednesday.
The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking by the FAA on pilot fatigue, which was issued in September of 2010, included airfreight airlines. However, the FAA decided to exclude the carries from the final regulation, instead giving them the option whether or not to go into the new requirements.
In a statement, the FAA said, “Covering cargo operators under the new rule would be too costly compared to the benefits generated in this portion of the industry.”
William Trent, an attorney representing the IPA, said that the union is not seeking to delay the implementation of the regulation. However, he said that IPA wanted cargo airlines to be included within the range of the regulation.
The FAA has made it clear in the text of the new regulation that cargo was excluded based on a cost to benefit analysis, stating that cargo “compliance costs significantly exceed the quantified societal benefits.”
The rule’s implementation is expected to cost the airlines around $297 million. FAA argued that including the cargo carriers would cost the airline industry another $306 million.
The FAA has explained why it believes that imposing such cost on operators of cargo carriers are not worth it. In the rule’s footnotes, it states, “The projected benefit of avoiding one fatal all-cargo accident ranges between $20.35 million and $32.55 million, depending on the number of crewmembers on board the aircraft.”