On Wednesday, November 19, 2019 Teamsters joined the Airline Pilots Association (ALPA), the Coalition of Airline Pilots Associations (CAPA) and the Independent Pilots Association (IPA) at a press conference at the U.S. House of Representatives to voice their support for the Safe Skies Act.
The legislation, which is being sponsored by Representatives Salud Carbajal (D – CA), John Katko (R – NY) and Matt Cartright (D – PA), would ensure that cargo flight pilots fall under the same regulations concerning rest, flight and duty as their counterparts in the commercial aviation industry. Carbajal noted that the accident rate for cargo pilots is higher than their colleagues in commercial aviation.
“There’s absolutely no reason that this double standard should exist for flight, duty and rest regulations,” Carbajal said. “Cargo pilots have difficult schedules, they have long hours, and their jobs require an alert mind and high level of attentiveness. If cargo pilots are fatigued, then they are flying under unrealistic pressure, that is a threat to the lives of those pilots, their crews and the public at large.”
Teamsters Local 2750 represents around 2,000 pilots at Atlas Air. Local 2750 Trustee Bob Kirchner spoke about how the different work rules have caused problems for Atlas Pilots.
“Pilots flying both passenger and cargo operate in the same airspace, land and take off from the same airports, the same runways, in the same weather conditions, in the same cities, in daylight and nighttime conditions,” Kirchner said. “Pilots at Atlas fly both passenger and cargo operations at the same time. This leads to chaos and confusion regarding the different fatigue rules.”
Kirchner also noted that Atlas Air pilots are responsible for transporting members of the armed services, and as such should be protected by the highest aviation safety standards possible.
“Our pilots who fly military cargo one day and America’s brave military personnel the next, along with their families, should be free from the effects of fatigue,” Kirchner said. “These proper fatigue standards will help ensure that the pilots are well rested when they operate these critical missions.”