Airline pilots union proposes advanced safety policies for commercial operations

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Airline pilot union the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA) recently highlighted policy recommendations for advancing aviation safety and security for commercial passenger operations.

The union also calls for efforts to achieve one level of safety for all-cargo pilots.

Most of the same federal regulations are used for commercial passenger and cargo airlines, but all-cargo operations have fewer requirements.

“Cargo airlines fly the same aircraft, take off from the same airports, utilize the same airspace, and fly over the same cities as passenger aircraft,” ALPA president Capt. Joe DePete said. “However, there are many safety and security protections that are not extended to pilots operating all-cargo flights. This double standard has to change, and it has to change now.”

Safety gaps include pilot flight, duty, and rest regulations; Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting not being required at many airports during cargo aircraft operations; many all-cargo aircraft lacking intrusion-resistant cockpit doors; animal handlers are not screened properly despite carrying large needles and tranquilizers; and some ramp areas are not properly designated security identification display areas.

ALPA urges lawmakers and regulators to enact cargo pilot fatigue legislation and the federal standards to protect cargo pilots’ health and well-being. The union also is working to increase ramp and flight deck security.