Federal Aviation Administration (Pilot Rest Requirements / International) / FAA seeks public comments on its draft interpretation regarding nonstop international supplemental operations scheduled for longer than 12 hours.

“… Additionally, this draft interpretation discusses the appropriate international flight time limitations that would apply to the operation. As discussed in the draft interpretation, the FAA finds that the operation of such flights would be precluded under the flight time limitations of the “U.S. mainland rules” found in the supplemental flight and duty rules. However, the operation could be conducted under the “international rules” provisions of our regulations.” 

“The FAA publishes draft legal interpretations when the matter in question is likely to be highly controversial or the likely answer has the potential to significantly and adversely affect long-standing practices that regulated parties have been engaged in, reasonably believing that these practices were consistent with FAA regulations. The intent is not to seek input on whether the FAA is correct—the FAA has the responsibility for interpreting its regulations. Rather, the reason for publishing the draft interpretation for comment is to see whether there may be unintended consequences for regulated parties that merit a further examination of how the agency’s regulatory provisions should be applied in conjunction with agency policy and guidance material. 

“We are issuing this draft interpretation because it has come to our attention that supplemental air carriers might be misinterpreting and misapplying the regulations governing flight time limitations for supplemental operations to operate international flight segments longer than 12 hours by reading § 121.509 of title 14, Code of Federal Regulations in isolation, without also complying with § 121.503(a) or, in the alternative, without adequate sleeping facilities for the flight crew as required under § 121.523(b). As discussed below, such a reading fails to consider the full meaning of the FAA’s regulations.” 

“Interpretation of the Rest Requirements of Nonstop International Supplemental Operations” 

April 2, 2013. Notice of draft interpretation.