A Brief History of ALPA’s FTDT Committee

The Executive Board unanimously passed a new ALPA policy on flight-time and duty-time limits and minimum rest requirements (FTDT) in October 2009, which sets very specific goals for (1) FTDT regulatory reform (currently underway in U.S. and likely to follow in Canada) and (2) negotiating rules on scheduling in future pilot contracts.

The new policy meets the mandate of ALPA’s long-time motto, Schedule with Safety, creating the foundation for sensible, science-based regulations to mitigate fatigue and improve pilot alertness. It deals with seven major areas—rest, duty, extension of duty, cumulative fatigue, augmentation, reserve, and fatigue risk management systems (FRMS).

The FTDT Committee has spent the last three years working with the International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations (IFALPA) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the aviation arm of the United Nations, to harmonize ALPA policy with ICAO and IFALPA recommendations that are based on a rational, scientific foundation.

Capt. Don Wykoff (Delta), chairman of the FTDT Committee, also co-chaired the FAA’s FTDT Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC), which developed recommendations for the agency to use in crafting proposed new FTDT rules.

ALPA leaders also needed to move deliberately because the FAA put FTDT reform on the fast track, with a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) promised by the end of 2009.

Pilot fatigue, a top priority in ALPA’s strategic plan, has been a major issue for this union and our members since we opened our doors in 1931.