More Rest for Pilots May Mean More Canceled Flights

1.13.2014

By Kevin Okeeffe

The FAA's new policy requiring more rest for pilots led to several JetBlue flight cancellations.

Good news for the next time you're flying — your pilot will be really well-rested. Bad news: You may not have a flight at all.

A new FAA policy that was implemented earlier this month requires pilots get a minimum 10 hours of rest before reporting for duty, as well as enforcing limits on how much work can be done in a given week or month. Airlines have had two years to get ready, but for non-union carriers like JetBlue, the policy is already proving tricky.

Last week, JetBlue had to cancel almost 500 flights, according to CNN Money, effectively ceasing operations at four different airports. Because time spent waiting for delays counts as time on the job, airlines affected by the change are more likely to cancel the flight outright than delaying.

Though most national carriers employ unionized pilots, along with JetBlue, several regional airlines will be affected. The policy is a response to a crash in 2009 that killed 49 on-board a Colgan Air flight. In said crash, the pilot was found to be at fault.

"Communities that rely on regional airlines are going to lose service," Roger Cohen, president of the Regional Airline Association, told CNN Money. "There just aren't enough pilots."

Tags: Airlines

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