US Airways' pilots union has spoken out against the finalised pilot fatigue rules released by the Federal Aviation Administration last week, arguing that they should also apply to pilots operating cargo aircraft.
"The new rule demonstrates troubling inconsistencies in its application to cargo operations and, therefore, fails to meet the FAA's stated goal of One Level of Safety," said Mike Cleary, president of the US Airline Pilots Association (USAPA).
"Under intense pressure from the cargo industry lobby, the FAA has failed to carry out this basic congressional mandate."
The FAA released the finalised rules on 21 December, with US Transportation Department secretary Ray LaHood saying they will not apply to cargo airlines as it would be "too costly" to justify the benefits. The Air Line Pilots Association has expressed its disappointment in the decision, and the UPS pilots union subsequently filed a petition against the exclusion.
"Fatigue is fatigue, regardless of whether you're carrying passengers or cargo. USAPA believes that, in the largely adversarial work environment that many are faced with today, strict government regulation must be in place to protect against potential abuses," said Cleary.