FAA Issues New Rule on Pilot Duty Time

 - December 22, 2011, 4:30 PM

Yesterday the FAA announced a final rule on pilot flight duty and rest requirements, a stricter regulation stemming from the Feb. 12, 2009 crash of Colgan Air Flight 3407 near Buffalo. The rule amends existing work conditions for flight crew operating under Part 121 but exempts all-cargo carriers. The rule requires that pilots have a minimum of 10 hours rest before each flight duty period, a two-hour increase over existing rules; places new limits on the number of hours a pilot can fly weekly and monthly; and extends the number of consecutive hours off in a seven-day period from 24 to 30. Airlines have two years to comply with the rule, which is expected to cost them $390 million. “This rule does not apply to cargo operations because it would have been too costly to implement it compared with the benefits generated in this portion of the industry,” said acting FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. “The rule does, however, allow cargo operators to opt in voluntarily, and I encourage them to do so.”