In late 2011, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reached a dual decision to institute new pilot scheduling standards intended to reduce the effects of fatigue on those operating passenger aircraft.
That rule instituted a 10-hour minimum rest period for pilots between flights, as well as maximum flight time requirements and some other related provisions.
These same standards did not apply to pilots of air cargo flights, although if two New York lawmakers are able to successfully lead the Safe Skies Act of 2013 from bill to law, cargo pilots and crew will be forced to comply with the same provisions.
U.S. Representatives Michael Grimm and Tim Bishop recently co-sponsored the bipartisan bill.
"Since they share the same airspace and runways, it is common sense that passenger airline and cargo pilots should share the same requirements for rest between flights," Bishop said. "This bipartisan bill is intended to ensure safe skies with a uniform standard for rest and recovery time between flights for pilots based on science."
Those who have opposed the bill have done so on the grounds that they believe pilots and crew of cargo flights are already held to sufficient safety standards.
Should the Safe Skies Act become law, its effects on air cargo efficiency could be felt fairly quickly. Presumably, the number of cargo flights would be reduced, although there's been no estimates as to the specific effects.
Supply chain stakeholders should continue to monitor the passage of the bill through Congress. They may need to institute additional protections against delays, including using a cargo imaging solution like CargoSnapshot to expedites the distribution process.