The UPS pilots union has filed a petition in the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to challenge the exclusion of cargo operations from finalised pilot fatigue rules released by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) yesterday.
The Independent Pilots Association's (IPA) general counsel William Trent said: ""The IPA seeks to have cargo operations included within the scope of the rule because of the safety benefits provided by the rule. IPA does not seek to delay implementation of these important safety benefits to passenger operations,"
IPA represents 2,700 UPS pilots.
The rules released by the FAA yesterday mandate longer rest periods for pilots before flights and requiring them to have longer periods of duty-free time on a weekly basis.
However, the rules apply only to pilots of passenger-carrying airlines, with US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood saying that they would be too costly to implement for the cargo sector.
Trent, which said there is "internal inconsistency" with the rule, added: "Two of the very factors that the FAA cites as exacerbating the risk of pilot fatigue - operating at night and crossing multiple time zones - are more present in cargo operations than in passenger operations."
The union expects to file additional court papers on the case in January, it said.