CAPA Calls on Congress to Pass "Safe Skies Act of 2013"

Washington, D.C. (March 4, 2014) - In response to the NTSB hearing on UPS Flight 1354, the Coalition of Airline Pilots Associations (CAPA) reaffirms its commitment and again calls on Congress to pass the Safe Skies Act of 2013. CAPA continues to advocate for the removal of "carve-outs" in regulations that would "exempt" any operator from the enhanced fatigue rules that have now been adopted by the passenger air carrier industry.

Senator Barbara Boxer said in a recent statement, “In the wake of the tragic deaths of Capt. Cerea Beal Jr. & First Officer Shanda Fanning, we need to heed their words. They clearly knew the dangers they faced due to the lack of safe work hours for cargo pilots and in their names we should pass the Safe Skies Act.” 

CAPA has long-supported "One Level of Safety" for our nation's passenger, all-cargo and charter operations. Fatigue does not discriminate between pilots regardless of the type of operations, aircraft type or what is being carried on the aircraft; and neither should safety regulations. This is particularly true for all-cargo operators, operators that transport our military personnel, and charter operators.

To quote NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman, “There is no reason to exempt pilots simply because they are carrying pallets rather than passengers.”

All-cargo operators such as UPS, operate with predictable schedules and their domestic and international operations very closely resemble the type of operations witnessed in the passenger airline industry, with one critical distinction: night-time flying where pilot fatigue is a common problem and which is substantiated by science. Charter operators (supplemental carriers) transport passengers, as well as cargo. Passengers who book a flight on a charter airline may unknowingly be subjected to a degraded level of regulatory safety standards. 

Additionally, all-cargo operators share the same airspace, airports, runways and taxiways with passenger carriers and should therefore be subject to the same safety regulations. There is no scientific foundation for establishing a separate set of pilot duty and rest rules based on the type of operation they conduct.

Until Flight Duty and Rest regulations are applied to all-cargo carriers and supplemental carriers, we will never truly have the "One Level of Safety" that the public expects, the aviation industry deserves and our members demand.