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FAA Rejects Request From Cargo Pilots for Greater Rest

U.S. aviation regulators won’t alter a decision excluding pilots at United Parcel Service Inc. and FedEx Corp. from rules to increase rest in an effort to reduce fatigue-related accidents.

The Federal Aviation Administration said it would be more costly than it had previously calculated for cargo carriers to adopt requirements announced last year for passenger airlines.

“As a result, the FAA has determined that no revisions to the final rule on either cargo or passenger operations is warranted,” the agency said in a filing to appear tomorrow in the U.S. Federal Register.

The FAA announced in May it had discovered errors in calculations used to justify the rule, after the Independent Pilots Association, which represents UPS’s flight crews, filed suit to force the agency to impose the rules on cargo carriers.

The rule, which takes effect in 2014, will reduce the hours passenger pilots can fly late at night or if they are making numerous landings and takeoffs. Because the projected benefits are based largely on averting potential loss of life, cargo carriers had less to gain and were excluded, the FAA said in the rule.

The union says in its lawsuit that since Congress ordered the FAA to impose new pilot-rest standards, the agency shouldn’t have calculated costs and benefits.

Union Disagrees

“We still reject the application of a cost-benefit analysis,” Robert Travis, president of the IPA, said in an e-mailed statement. “We do not believe that it was Congress’s intent to address the important issue of pilot fatigue only if the price is right.”

Estimated net costs, after benefits, during the first 12 years of reducing pilot work hours on cargo airlines rose from $306 million to $550 million in FAA’s revised calculations. The FAA projected that cargo airlines would have had benefits of between $20.4 million and $32.6 million.

The case is Independent Pilots Association v. Federal Aviation Administration, 11-1483, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia (Washington).

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