USAPA Supports NATCA Fatigue Mitigation Efforts
Thursday, June 09, 2011
NATCA received strong support from its brothers and sisters in the US Airline Pilots Association (USAPA) this week. USAPA issued a press release -- including a quote from NATCA President Paul Rinaldi -- responding to the much-publicized issue of fatigue:
US Airline Pilots Association Supports National Air Traffic Controllers' Efforts to Mitigate Controller Fatigue
Union also presses for pilot rest rule reforms
CHARLOTTE, N.C.--The US Airline Pilots Association (USAPA), representing the pilots of US Airways, today offered strong support for the efforts of our nation's professional air traffic controllers, represented by the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA), to implement a comprehensive and non-punitive fatigue mitigation policy to enhance the safety of the United States' National Airspace System (NAS).
"We have long been advocates for a science-based reworking of the antiquated rest rules for airline pilots," said Captain Mike Cleary, president of USAPA. "Although the FAA will be issuing new rules on a congressionally-mandated timeline shortly, we are disturbed by the continued pressure applied to the rulemaking process from airline management lobby groups, which is causing an undue focus on costs. We cannot place a price on the safety of our passengers' lives. The same science-based approach must also be used when addressing air traffic controller fatigue."
"We support the FAA’s recent action to enhance aviation safety by eliminating single staffing on the midnight shift," said NATCA President Paul Rinaldi. "However, these changes barely scratch the surface of the problem. The work of the joint NATCA-FAA fatigue workgroup over the past 18 months has produced 12 recommendations based on established scientific research and data and health practices. There is nothing groundbreaking about these recommendations. They are common sense solutions to a safety problem NATCA and fatigue experts have consistently raised for years while past administrations turned a blind eye. The recommendations are based on advice from NASA and the military and are in line with international air traffic control best practices. If we are serious about addressing controller fatigue, then every recommendation must be adopted and implemented. Congress must also finally pass the FAA Reauthorization, which is now in its 19th extension. This legislation includes a number of provisions addressing fatigue."
"Our passengers and fellow crew members are depending upon the FAA and the unions to work cooperatively to protect the sanctity of our aviation safety system," President Cleary added. "We can only do that if that cooperation remains untainted by the economic interests that work to the detriment of a safer system."
Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., the US Airline Pilots Association (USAPA) represents the more than 5,000 mainline pilots who fly for US Airways. USAPA's mission is to ensure safe flights for airline passengers by guaranteeing that their lives are in the hands of only the most qualified, competent and well-equipped pilots. USAPA will fight against any practices that may jeopardize its pilots' training, equipment, workplace environment, compensation or work/life balance, or that compromise its pilots' ability to execute the optimal flight. Visit the USAPA website at www.USAirlinePilots.org.
The USAPA press release follows earlier support to NATCA provided by pilots represented by ALPA and flight attendants represented by AFA.
ALPA issued this press release on April 20:
AFA President Veda Shook spoke to NATCAvists at last month's NATCA in Washington event to relay AFA's support for NATCA.