Washington, DC (November 19, 2019) – The Coalition of Airline Pilots Associations (CAPA), representing over 30,000 professional passenger and cargo airline pilots applauds the “Safe Skies Act of 2019” introduced today by U.S. House of Representatives John Katko (R-NY), Salud Carbajal (D-CA) and Matt Cartwright (D-PA). CAPA fully supports their continued efforts on this crucial piece of aviation safety legislation and endorses its’ passage without delay.
CAPA has long-advocated the need for “One Level of Safety” for our nation’s passenger, cargo and supplemental pilots and believes that the final Flight Time/Duty Time (FT/DT) rules create a lower standard of oversight that is unacceptable and runs counter to improved safety. Fatigue does not discriminate between types of airline operations, aircraft type, or what is being carried on the aircraft. This is particularly true for cargo operators, charter operators, and operators that transport our nations’ military personnel.
CAPA President Captain Larry Rooney stated, “The idea that a simple “exemption” provides all-cargo and supplemental carriers the ability to “opt in or out” of this new rule fails to meet the mandate of “One Level of Safety.” “There must be industry standard rules that provide safe transportation by all of our nation’s airlines regardless of whether cargo or passengers are being carried in the rear of the aircraft”, he added.
“As pilots flying for UPS, we know firsthand the hazards of applying differing levels of safety to cargo and passenger flights,” said Capt. Robert Travis, President of the Independent Pilots Association and Board member of CAPA. “We applaud Congressmen Katko and Carbajal for introducing legislation that will provide for a single, science-based national standard in the fight against pilot fatigue.”
“Even after many years, we have never achieved “One Level of Safety” in aviation because cargo pilots, who fly some of the most demanding schedules and are at the most risk of fatigue, have never had the same protection from the deadly and predictable effects of fatigue that passenger pilots do. This must stop”, stated Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger. “I strongly support the Safe Skies Act of 2019 because it is a common-sense measure that would close this dangerous loophole. When large airplanes fly in our nation’s airspace, it doesn’t matter whether they are carrying people or packages-what matters is that the pilots are not fatigued,” added Capt. Sullenberger.
Cargo and supplemental airlines share the same airspace, airports, runways and taxiways with all other airlines including passenger carriers and should therefore be subject to the same safety regulations. There is no scientific foundation for the establishment of separate pilot duty and rest rules based on the type of operations they conduct. Allowing some operators to operate outside of this much-needed safety net is not grounded in modern fatigue science as mandated by Congress in 2010.
CAPA stands steadfast and unwavering in our support of the “Safe Skies Act of 2019” and industry standard rules for all airlines. “It is vitally important to ensure that the safety of our nation’s transportation system remains paramount,” CAPA President Rooney stated. “Until Flight Duty and Rest regulations are applied to all-cargo carriers and supplemental carriers, we will never have “One-Level-of-Safety” which, in its absence, sadly places our nation’s airline safety system at great risk for an unfortunate, preventable and costly tragedy”, he added.
The Coalition of Airline Pilots Associations is a trade association representing more than 30,000 professional passenger and cargo airline pilots at carriers including American Airlines (Allied Pilots Association), UPS Airlines (IPA), ABX Air, Horizon Airlines, Southern Air, Silver Airways, Allegiant Air, Kalitta Air, Kalitta Charters II, Miami Air, Cape Air , Omni Air (Teamsters Local 1224), and Republic Airlines (Teamsters Local 357).