A US appeals court has dismissed an attempt by US airlines to prevent the Federal Aviation Administration enforcing a stricter interpretation of pilot flight and duty time rules. The ruling allows the FAA to enforce its duty time regulations regardless of weather or air traffic control delays. The stricter interpretation could require pilots to return to the gate if they believe departure delays would push the arrival time beyond their16h duty limit. Airlines want the freedom to allow pilots to operate flights that are due to land within the 16h window, but do not do so because of delays. The appeals court had blocked enforcement of the stricter interpretation pending its ruling on the challenge lodged last year by the Air Transport Association. The airline trade body is considering options, which may include an appeal to the US Supreme Court, while the USAir Line Pilots Association has called on the FAA to resume enforcement.

Source: Flight International