‘Beauty sleep’ rule has an ugly consequence

A PROPOSED Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rule changing the number of hours that pilots are allowed to fly is a threat to 400,000 jobs, the Air Transport Association of America (ATA) charged.

The proposal also ignores proven science and operational data, especially concerning schedule reliability, flight-time limits and limiting extensions of duty periods, ATA said. In addition the different working environments of cargo and charter pilots compared with passenger airline pilots are not taken into account, ATA added.

“This rule will drive job losses. Airlines will be forced to eliminate up to 27,000 direct airline jobs – five per cent of their work force – and cut service to small US communities,” ATA chief executive officer Nicholas Calio said. “These job losses are staggering, particularly at a time when unemployment persists above nine per cent and job creation is at the top of the agenda for the president and congress.”

Based on industry models, ATA estimates that the rule will lead to a US$2 billion annual increase in airline costs – far above government predictions. Airlines will not be able to pass on these costs to customers and will instead need to reduce capacity.

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