FedEx has condemned the application US Federal Aviation Administration rules to enforce rest for pilots flying cargo aircraft, reports Washington, DC's newspaper, The Hill.
"The proposed legislation attempts to implement a 'one size fits all' approach to fatigue mitigation; an approach that the administration's own analysis determined was not practical," the FedEx statement said.
"The FAA recognised that fact when it wisely introduced the Fatigue Risk Management System, allowing carriers and pilots to develop customised plans together to achieve the best possible alertness results," the company said.
FedEx claimed it was already "the industry leader in fatigue mitigation because we have worked with our pilots and recognised experts to mitigate fatigue for many years. We will continue to incorporate the best scientific findings in the area of fatigue into our scheduling systems," said the company.
But Minnesota Republican Congressman Chip Cravaack and New York Democratic Congressman Tim Bishop have introduced legislation to address a gap in new fatigue rules announced by the FAA last year in response to a Continental Airlines 2009 cargo plane crash in Buffalo, New York.
The FAA responded last year with new rules that require airlines to allow their pilots to get at least 10 hours off-duty between flight schedules, which would give them a chance for eight hours sleep before the next take off.
Disagreeing with FedEx, the congressmen said it was important to have one set of rules for the national aviation system.
Said Congressman Cravaack: "As a former cargo pilot, I understand the importance of a single standard of safety for pilots who share the same airspace and runways with passenger aircraft. I introduced the Safe Skies Act to apply the new, common sense standard for pilot rest to cargo pilots as well."
Federal accident inspectors blamed the 2009 crash on pilot fatigue, and the families of victims of the crash have lobbied ever since to tighten regulation of the aviation industry.