There was some support for the FAA’s position. Former airline mechanic and National Transportation Safety Board member John Goglia in comments said, “The pressures to do more with less staff have led to many maintenance workers working grueling shifts with little uninterrupted rest. At the same time, the reduction in maintenance workers’ wages has led many workers to volunteer for overtime and additional shifts to make up for the lost wages. This has led many workers to be chronically fatigued; a condition which can have devastating consequences for the performance of critical maintenance tasks.”
Industry’s input, however, persuaded the FAA to revert to its previous interpretation. “Upon review of the comments, the FAA agrees that the proposed interpretation of the ‘equivalency language’ found in the §121.377 rest requirements for maintenance personnel would change prior long-standing precedent,” the agency told ARSA in the late December letter, which served as a formal response to the association’s 2010 inquiry. “As a result, the FAA is rescinding that portion of [its interpretation] dealing with the ‘equivalency language.’”
“It is unfortunate that ARSA even had to intervene in this matter,” ARSA Executive Director Sarah MacLeod said in response to FAA’s letter. “The plain language of the regulation was absolutely clear.”
The FAA soon will publish a Federal Register notice formalizing its position.