Continental Airlines and AMR American Airlines are balking at providing extra rest periods and other special safety measures for pilots who fly their longest international routes, four months after rival Delta Air Lines agreed to such steps, industry and government officials said in The Wall Street Journal.
The crux of the argument is over the amount of rest necessary for pilots once aircraft arrive overseas.
Airlines that keep pilots sitting idle for shorter periods at foreign destinations could enjoy significant labor-cost savings, thereby gaining a competitive edge over rivals.
On the other hand, pilot unions and other critics worry the result may be an erosion of safety margins if tired crews have to cope with unusual or emergency situations.
Continental and American are resisting, among other things, U.S. Federal Aviation Administration rules for an extra day of rest for pilots at some foreign destinations, according to industry officials. The airlines contend such requirements are unnecessary and may even be counterproductive.