Some Canadian pilots are calling for changes in the rules governing work hours after the U.S. government this week introduced new measures to address pilot fatigue.
The Air Canada Pilots Association, which represents roughly 3,000 pilots for Air Canada's mainline fleet, was reacting to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration's move Wednesday to alter flying regulations dating back to the 1960s.
"The rest of the world is moving to address pilot fatigue, while Canada remains mired in a regulatory review process that could last for years," said Capt. Paul Strachan, president of the ACPA.
New FAA flying rules
- Number of hours on duty: 9 to 14.
- Number of hours flying: 8 to 9.
- Number of hours of rest: 10.
- Time off between shifts increased by 25%.
- New limits on hours pilots can fly per month.
U.S. pilots will now be limited to a maximum of between nine and 14 hours of scheduled time on duty — including wait time before flights and administrative duties. The total will hinge on the time of day pilots begin their first flight and the number of time zones crossed.
U.S. pilots will also be limited to a maximum of eight or nine hours of flying time, and will get at least 10 hours to rest between duty periods, an increase of two hours from the old rules. Pilots flying overnight would be allowed fewer hours than pilots working during the day.
The rules will apply only to passenger service, not pilots on cargo flights, a move that disappointed the Air Line Pilots Association International, which represents more than 53,000 pilots at 37 airlines in the United States and Canada.
"While the new rule brings much-needed science-based improvements in flight and duty regulations, ALPA is disappointed that cargo operations are being held to a lesser standard," association president Capt. Lee Moak said Wednesday.
U.S. passenger carriers will have two years to adapt to the new rules.