FAA's recuperation measures ignore air freight pilots
Commercial pilots in the United States received an early Christmas present this week when the Federal Aviation Administration mandated commercial pilot regulations aimed at adding rest and reducing workload.
The FAA ruled that pilots for commercial planes must rest for at least 10 hours before they even report for flying duty. Among other initiatives, the FAA ruled that single-crew flight operations can only work a maximum of 14-hour flight duties, while an eight-to-nine hour flight-time restriction has been set.
Pilots of commercial planes must also report at the beginning of each shift if they are fit for duty.
“We made a promise to the traveling public that we would do everything possible to make sure pilots are rested when they get in the cockpit,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement. “This new rule raises the safety bar to prevent fatigue.”
While the FAA’s mandates are good news for pilots, the struggling airline industry as a whole is expected to lose money from the tighter regulations. According to the FAA’s press release, these measures would cost the business a shade under $300 million.
SEE OTHER TOP AIR FREIGHT STORIES IN THE SUPPLY CHAIN DIGITAL CONTENT NETWORK
Furthermore, cargo pilots did not receive the reduced workload benefits of their commercial counterparts. The FAA’s ruling is seen as voluntary throughout the air freight world, which has ruffled some feathers.
“Giving air cargo carriers the choice to opt into new pilot rest rules makes as much sense as allowing truckers to ‘opt-out’ of drunk driving laws,” Independent Pilots Association president Robert Travis said in a statement. “To potentially allow fatigued cargo pilots to share the same skies with properly rested passenger pilots creates an unnecessary threat to public safety. We can do better.”
The Independent Pilots Association is the trade union that represents UPS. The FAA maintains that the decision to not extend the rest regulations to air cargo pilots was strictly monetary.
“Covering cargo operations under the new rule would be too costly compared to the benefits generated in this portion of the industry,” the FAA said in a statement, adding that cargo carriers should simply “opt into the new rule voluntarily.”
Uber Freight to Acquire Transplace in $2.2bn Deal
Uber Freight is to acquire logistics technology and solutions provider Transplace in a deal worth $2.25bn.
The company will pay up to $750m in common stock and the remainder in cash to TPG Capital, Transplace’s private equity owner, pending regulatory approval and closing conditions.
“This is a significant step forward, not just for Uber Freight but for the entire logistics ecosystem,” said Lior Ron, Head of Uber Freight, and former founder of the Uber-owned trucking start-up Otto.
Uber’s Big Play for Supply Chain
Transplace is one of the world's largest managed transportation and logistics networks, with 62,000 unique users on its platform and $11bn in freight under management. It offers truck brokerage and other capacity solutions, end-to-end visibility on cross border shipments, and a suite of digital solutions and consultancy services.
The purchase is the latest move by parent company Uber, which launched as a San Francisco cab-hailing app in 2011, to diversify its offering and create new revenue streams in all transport segments.
Transplace said the takeover comes amid a period of “accelerated transformation in logistics”, where globalisation, shipping and transport disruption, and widespread volatility are colliding.
Uber Freight plans to integrate the Transplace network into its own platform, which connects shippers and carriers in a dashboard that mirroring the intuitive experience found in its consumer vehicle booking and food ordering services.
“This is an opportunity to bring together complementary best-in-class technology solutions and operational excellence from two premier companies to create an industry-first shipper-to-carrier platform that will transform shippers’ entire supply chains, delivering operational resilience and reducing costs at a time when it matters most,” said Ron.
Frank McGuigan, CEO of Transplace, said the resulting merger will offer enhanced efficiency and transparency for shippers, and benefits of scale for carriers. “All in all, we expect to significantly reduce shipper and carrier empty miles to the benefit of highway and road infrastructures and the environment,” he added.
History of Uber Freight
Uber Freight was established in 2017 and separated into its own business unit the following year. In 2019 the company had expanded across the entire continental US, established a headquarters in Chicago. Later that year it launched its first international division in Europe, initially from a regional foothold in the Nertherlands, and later moving into Germany.
The logistics spinoff attracted a $500m investment from New York-based Greenbriar Equity Group in October 2020, and launched a new shipping platform for companies of all sizes in May, partly in response to a driver shortage in Canada.