AFA Statement on H.R. 4, the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018

April 18, 2018 — The 50,000 Flight Attendants at 20 airlines represented by the Association of Flight Attendants–CWA commends the introduction of the bipartisan FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 (H.R. 4). H.R. 4 improves safety, protects U.S. aviation jobs, and enhances the security of our aviation system.

Chairman Shuster, Ranking Member DeFazio, Chairman LoBiondo and Ranking Member Larsen wrote a strong bill for aviation safety, including AFA’s top safety priority of 10 hours minimum rest for Flight Attendants—equal to the flight deck, and a Fatigue Risk Management Plan (FRMP).

In 1994, the FAA issued guidance that Flight Attendants should have the same rest as pilots. Section 314 of the FAA Reauthorization Act accomplishes that mandate with 10 hours minimum rest and a FRMP for Flight Attendants.

When pilot minimum rest was increased in 2013, Flight Attendants were left behind with an 8-hour minimum rest requirement. The “rest period” includes travel to the hotel, checking-in, possibly eating a meal, getting prepared for bed, getting dressed for work the next morning, travel to the airport, clearing security and traversing the concourse, and last, but certainly not least, sleep time.

A series of studies conducted by the FAA and the Civil Aerospace Medical Institute (CAMI) have identified combating fatigue as a safety priority. Flight Attendants, aviation’s first responders, should have the same rest minimum breaks provided to pilots, 10 hours – release to report – and not a minute less. Being adequately rested and free from fatigue will ensure they are able to fully respond to in-flight emergencies.

H.R. 4 protects U.S. aviation jobs by preventing flags-of-convenience model airlines from undermining U.S. aviation, Sec. 530. This provision defends U.S. aviation workers from airlines seeking to hire from countries with weak labor laws and minimal regulatory oversight leading to the outsourcing of U.S. aviation jobs. This section upholds the letter and spirit of our Open Skies agreement with the European Union and protects good jobs in the United States.

This common-sense bill also includes other AFA safety priorities:

• Ban on Voice Calls on Planes, Sec. 402
• Cabin Cyber Security Vulnerabilities, Sec. 732
• Secondary Cockpit Barriers, Sec. 315
• Safe transport of lithium batteries, Sec. 509
• Study on Cabin Evacuation Certification, Sec. 307
• Requiring privacy for nursing in the airport, Sec. 122
• Evaluation and update of emergency medical kit contents, Sec. 311
• Required notification of Insecticide use, Sec. 405
• Promoting Women in Aviation, Sec. 512
• Banning electronic cigarette smoking on planes, Sec. 534

AFA’s top safety priorities are included in this bill as introduced. We will monitor this process to ensure there are no attempts to limit or weaken these strong common sense safety objectives. We again thank Chairman Shuster, Ranking Member DeFazio, Chairman LoBiondo, and Ranking Member Larsen for their bipartisan leadership in shaping this strong legislation. Flight Attendants look forward to closing the safety loophole of fatigue with equal Crew rest as soon as possible.

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