The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit heard oral argument today for the Independent Pilots Association (UPS pilots) in its lawsuit challenging the FAA’s decision to exclude all-cargo operators from the new Flightcrew Member Duty and Rest Requirements.The following statement is from the IPA General Counsel William Trent: “It’s taken four years to get our day in court, but UPS pilots are ready to outline our case for one level of aviation safety. The arguments we will be making before the court today are:
– The FAA failed to execute Congress’ command to promulgate regulations that address the acknowledged problems relating to pilot fatigue in all-cargo operations. Congress directed the FAA to ‘issue regulations, based on the best available scientific information, to specify limitations on the hours of flight and duty time allowed for pilots to address problems relating to pilot fatigue,’ and
– The scientific information on fatigue does not support the FAA’s exclusion of all-cargo operators from the final rule. The FAA’s decision to leave all-cargo operations subject to the old Part 121 rules also
violates the Safety Act because the decision leaves cargo pilots subject to rules that do not reflect the ‘best available scientific information’ about pilot fatigue, and
– The FAA impermissibly relied on a cost-benefit analysis to ignore Congress’ directive to utilize scientific information on pilot fatigue.
Importantly, however, the IPA does not seek to overturn the new Part 117 rules as they relate to passenger operations, but only to have the Court order the FAA to reconsider the inclusion of cargo operations consistent with its mandate from Congress.”