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FAA Releases Flight Attendant Fatigue Study After Heavy Pressure From AFA-CWA

Date: July 7, 2006

Washington, DCAfter intense pressure for over a year from the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA-CWA), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) finally delivered the flight attendant fatigue study to Congress, who requested it at AFA-CWA's urging last year.  Originally due back to the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in June 2005, the FAA had been ignoring the requests of AFA-CWA and Congress to release the results for over a year.

"Flight attendant fatigue is a chronic problem in the aviation industry and it continues to jeopardize our ability to fulfill important safety and security roles," said Patricia Friend, AFA-CWA International President.  "Fatigue has been overlooked for too long which is what makes this study even more vital."

The results confirm that flight attendants are frequently "experiencing issues consistent with fatigue and tiredness" and that "fatigue appears to be a salient issue warranting further evaluation."

According to recommendations cited in the report, "based on the incident reports, flight attendant comments, and the outcomes from the sampling of actual duty and rest time, it appears that the opportunities for adequate rest for flight attendants need to be further evaluated."

The study also mentions that regulations created by the FAA governing flight attendant duty and rest requirements are minimal standards.  To truly address fatigue, the regulations must be combined with "sound and realistic operational practices," as well as personal strategies. 

Friend also added, "FAA approving the report is one hurdle we have overcome.  They have proven that current rest periods are inadequate and need to be re-evaluated.  Now it is time to move forward and take the steps necessary to end flight attendant fatigue and enact meaningful regulations that would help solve this problem."

In June, over 50 AFA-CWA flight attendants spent the night in front of the FAA headquarters to show FAA Administrator Marion Blakey that the results of this important study were needed immediately.  AFA-CWA and Congress have also formally requested the study several times, all with no response from the FAA. 

For over 60 years, the Association of Flight Attendants has been serving as the voice for flight attendants in the workplace, in the aviation industry, in the media and on Capitol Hill.  More than 55,000 flight attendants at 20 airlines come together to form AFA-CWA, the world's largest flight attendant union. AFA is part of the 700,000-member strong Communications Workers of America (CWA), AFL-CIO.  Visit us at www.afanet.org. 

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