CAPA refutes the ATA claims of mass cost increases and job losses

For Immediate release: Press Statement
Contact: Maryanne DeMarco
(202) 680-0740

CAPA refutes the ATA claims of mass cost increases and job losses with FAA Fatigue Rules Revision

September 26, 2011, WASHINGTON, D.C.

On September 15, 2011, The Air Transport Association (ATA) stated that the proposed FAA Fatigue rules would cost the airlines an additional $2 billion a year and result in the loss of 27,000 airline jobs and as many as 400,000 industry related jobs.

This is clearly another example of the ATA’s “sky is falling” refrain. If the ATA’s claims were on point, would the nation’s airline pilots be supporting rule changes that would lead to significant loss of jobs and weaken our nation’s airlines? The answer is simple…No.

While we acknowledge that there are costs associated with the new proposed fatigue rules, the actual costs will be much more in line with the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) estimates, not the inflated costs the industry is claiming. Additionally, management at our nation’s airlines should be able to minimize any impact with proper oversight, as they have in the past with other government required changes. Remember the ATA saying the sky was falling when Congress was proposing a Passenger Bill of Rights? The ATA’s predictions of disastrously higher costs didn’t result from that legislation either.

In fact, the voices in opposition to these new rules come from people who have never operated a flight under the archaic and inadequate rules that our nation’s pilots currently operate under every day. They have never been subject to the debilitating effect of fatigue on crew performance. They have never had to deal with struggling to stay awake in the cockpit at the end of a long day. Instead, they are merely industry lobbyists, delivering the industry’s “cry wolf” on this vital issue.

The industry panic button has shut down progress toward a safer industry before. In the mid 1990’s, industry stakeholders worked with the FAA on updating fatigue rules which had not been effectively modified in over 30 years. Real progress was being made until the industry threw out grossly exaggerated claims of increased costs, and threatened legal action if enacted. The effort subsequently died. During the intervening time the National Transportation Safety Board has cited fatigue in numerous accidents (including fatal accidents) as a result of inaction on this much needed safety improvement.

CAPA and its member associations support the FAA Administrator’s call for “One Level of Safety” for pilots of passenger, cargo and supplemental airlines. Additional efforts being made by the Cargo Airline Association (CAA) and The National Air Carriers Association (NACA) to further reduce safety levels by exempting Cargo and Charter Airlines from these proposed rules is wholly unacceptable, and should be ignored by the administration.

As a voice for pilots supporting their families and communities, CAPA very much wants the nation’s airlines to be successful and profitable as well as safe. Our passengers and crewmembers deserve nothing less than the very utmost in a safe and efficient modern airline system. We call for the immediate release of the FAA’s Flight and Duty Time regulations as proposed earlier this year by the FAA Administrator without further delay. The interference and delay tactics by opposing stakeholders must cease.

Further, we call for the Administration to disregard industry’s inaccurate statements, and enact the improved Flight and Duty Time rules to provide the “One Level of Safety” our nation deserves.

Captain Carl Kuwitzky
Coalition of Airline Pilots Associations

(Click here to download a copy of the press release)