Sunday, January 27, 2019
The FAA Reauthorization Bill that passed in October 2018 included an important rest improvement for Flight Attendants an increase in minimum rest from 8 to 10 hours, calculated from release to report. Once implemented, it will apply to both scheduled and actual operations and is not reducible under any circumstances.
Since the passage of the bill, APFA Government Affairs, Safety & Security, Contract and Scheduling Departments have been monitoring the implementation plan for this Federal Aviation Regulation (FAR) in addition to the other sections of the bill that contain improvements for Flight Attendants.
The FAA is the ultimate enforcer of this bill. It is not uncommon for an agency to become backlogged when a massive 1200 page bill passes. The implementation of the FAA Bill was also compounded by the Government shutdown. This means that certain parts of FAA have been closed and the timeline for implementation was pushed back. Since October, our Government Affairs Department has worked with Rep. DeFazio’s staff, now the Chairman of the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, asking for swift interpretation and implementation. With the Government open, we will, again, remind the FAA that the deadline has already been missed and that their attention to this must be immediate.
In addition to minimum rest, this section of the FAA Bill also requires commercial airlines to submit a Fatigue Risk Management Plan to the FAA within 90 days for review and acceptance. American Airlines submitted their Fatigue Risk Management Plan on 04 January 2019. The FAA has up to one year to review and accept it.
The airlines are well aware of this substantial change. Once we have a firm date for the 10 hour rest provision, we will communicate more information regarding pay protection and rest.
Flight Attendants are safety professionals who take care of hundreds of thousands of passengers daily. We deserve to be prepared for our long duty days. It is APFA’s position that there is no reason the airlines cannot, and should not, implement 10 hours minimum rest immediately. The language in the bill is not complicated and it clearly states that the FAR increases from 8 to 10 hours. APFA members should start asking the company why they have waited this long for our 10 hours of rest to go into effect. There is nothing preventing American Airlines from doing the right thing, right now! It’s time for American to show good faith.
APFA National Government Affairs Representative
APFA National Safety and Security Chair
APFA National Contract Chair
APFA National Scheduling Chair