WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Rep. Salud Carbajal, D-Santa Barbara, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar led a bipartisan and bicameral coalition of lawmakers in introducing the Safe Skies Act of 2021 this week.
The bipartisan bill seeks to ensure that cargo pilots are operating under the same rules as commercial airline pilots to fight fatigue and keep airspace safe.
According to a news release, cargo pilots operate under weaker flight, duty and rest restrictions than commercial airline pilots. These differing requirements lead to increased pilot fatigue, which could have consequences for airspace safety.
The Safe Skies Act aims to address the double standard in restrictions by applying the same standards for cargo pilots and commercial pilots. Rep. Carbajal introduced the bill in the House this week, and Sen. Klobuchar introduced companion legislation in the Senate.
“It should go without saying that cargo pilots and crews deserve to be safe in their workplace,” Rep. Carbajal said in a statement. “More needs to be done to ensure pilots, crews, passengers, and all who share our skies are safe. The bipartisan Safe Skies Act is a commonsense bill that puts safety first.”
“By applying the same rules that keep commercial pilots safe to cargo pilots, we can close a dangerous loophole that puts undue stress and fatigue on our cargo pilots. We need one strong standard of safety and this bill would make that standard a reality.”
The bill has received support from the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), the Coalition of Airline Pilots Association (CAPA) and the Independent Pilots Association (IPA).
— Madison Hirneisen