Airline Program to Reduce Fatigue, Improve Safety

The Air Transport Association announced a plan Wednesday to\r\ncombat fatigue in the airline industry and improve safety.

The Air Transport Association (ATA) announced a plan Wednesday to combat fatigue in the airline industry and improve safety.

The Alertness Management Initiative is the result of an airline industry task force which looked at fatigue-related issues in commercial aviation.

As a result of this task force, the aviation industry is undertaking a number of steps to reduce fatigue-related risk among flight crews.

"This is a key safety-enhancing initiative," said Carol Hallet, ATA president. "Safety has always been the top priority of commercial aviation and with the announcement of this plan, we are making safe skies even safer."

ATA represents the nation''s biggest airlines.

For years, government regulators have looked for ways to reduce the number of tired pilots, mechanics and flight crews.

At a hearing last year, the Federal Aviation Administration, backed by the airlines, pressed for pilots to make sure they get enough rest while they are off duty.

Now, by law, pilots cannot fly more than eight hours and must receive at least eight hours in a 24-hour period.

As part of the Alertness Management Initiative, ATA member carriers are taking the following actions to reduce fatigue:

  • Establish clear duty limits.
  • Implement an industry-wide voluntary program to educate all employees on fatigue and countermeasures to combat it.
  • Utilize the first-ever industry Web site, AviationAlert.com, which will allow air carriers to share information on fatigue and efforts to reduce fatigue-related risks.
  • Establish a Scientific Advisory Board, made up of acknowledged worldwide fatigue experts, which will conduct research about fatigue in the aviation industry.

"Fatigue management is another area in which we can enhance safety even further," said Hallet. "And that''s what this plan is all about -- doing a better job managing fatigue and alertness."

by Virginia Sutcliffe

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