Rep. Carbajal and Cargo Pilots Introduce Safe Skies Act

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WASHINGTON, D.C., November 19, 2019 | comments

Today, Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-CA-24) along with members of the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), the Coalition of Airline Pilots Associations (CAPA), International Brotherhood of Teamsters, cargo pilots, commercial pilots and aviation experts introduced the Safe Skies Act of 2019. This bipartisan bill would ensure cargo pilots are operating under rules that fight fatigue and keep our airspace free from danger.

Currently, cargo pilots are operating under weaker flight, duty and rest regulations than their commercial airline counterparts. This leads to increased pilot fatigue and duress, and can have damaging consequences for all who use our airspace. The Safe Skies Act would address the safety double standard by applying the same strong standards for cargo pilots that exist for passenger airline pilots. The bill, introduced by Carbajal, is co-sponsored by Reps. John Katko (R-NY-24), Matt Cartwright (D-PA-08) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-01).

As aviation safety continues to make headlines, it is clear that more needs to be done to ensure pilots, crews, passengers and all who share our skies are protected. The bipartisan Safe Skies Act is a commonsense bill that puts safety first,” said Rep. Carbajal. “By enhancing the safety rules of cargo pilots to the same standards as their commercial counterparts, we are closing a safety loophole that puts undue stress and fatigue on our cargo pilots. We need one strong standard of safety, and this bill would make that standard a reality.”

“Airline pilots are affected by fatigue the same, regardless of whether we fly passengers or freight. It is time for Congress to pass the Safe Skies Act and ensure one level of safety for all airline operations,” said Capt. Joe DePete, ALPA president. “Based on statistics, if the accident rate of all-cargo operations was applied to passenger operations, there would be an additional 277 accidents within ten years. That is not acceptable.”

“CAPA stands steadfast and unwavering in our support of the Safe Skies Act of 2019 and industry standard rules for all airlines. It is vitally important to ensure that the safety of our nation's transportation system remains paramount," said CAPA President Capt. Larry Rooney. "Until Flight Duty and Rest regulations are applied to all-cargo carriers and supplemental carriers, we will never have ‘One-Level-of-Safety’ which, in its absence, sadly places our nation’s airline safety system at great risk for an unfortunate, preventable and costly tragedy.”

“As pilots flying for UPS, we know firsthand the hazards of applying differing levels of safety to cargo and passenger flights,” said Capt. Robert Travis, President of the Independent Pilots Association. “We applaud Congressmen Katko, Carbajal, Fitzpatrick and Cartwright for introducing legislation that will provide for a single, science-based national standard in the fight against pilot fatigue.”  

“This common-sense legislation will ensure that safety standards are applied uniformly in the aviation industry,” said Congressman Cartwright. “Cargo plane pilots perform an essential role in our economy, and they deserve the same workplace protections as commercial airline pilots.”


The full text of the bill can be found here.

Full Safe Skies press conference can be viewed here.

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