Airlines wrestling with crew rest guidelines

03/3/2009 |

With airplanes such as the Boeing 777 and Airbus A380 allowing nearly round-the-clock flying, the industry is wrestling with how best to prevent fatigue among crew members on ultra-long flights. Some carriers, including Delta, require crews to stay on the ground for 48 hours before returning home, arguing that two full sleep cycles are needed. The FAA has adopted the Delta guidelines for industry-wide use, but seven carriers have sued to have the rules set aside. They argue that longer layovers don't automatically lead to better-rested pilots. "It's the simple solution, but it is not the best solution," says Dr. Martin Moore-Ede, an expert in fatigue management, who notes that longer stays allow the body to become more acclimated to foreign time zones.

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