WASHINGTON — Under a rule, airlines would be required to give flight attendants at least 10 hours of rest between shifts, one hour more than now announced on Tuesday by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Acting FAA Administrator Billy Nolen said the extra hour of rest would help improve safety.

The rule goes into effect in 30 days, and airlines have up to 90 days to comply.

In 2018, Congress ordered the FAA to increase rest requirements for flight attendants and repeal a provision allowing aircrews to work with less rest under certain circumstances.

“It’s taken us too long, but we’re finally here,” Nolen said at a news conference at Reagan National Airport in Washington, where he was flanked by more than a dozen flight attendants.

Current federal regulations allow flight attendants to work up to 14 hours a day and get nine hours of rest between shifts.

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The Flight Attendant Association has been fighting for a longer break between shifts for years. The union thought it had won four years ago when Congress voted by a wide margin to demand more rest. Union President Sarah Nelson appeared with Nolen at a news conference and accused the Trump administration of trying to stop the expansion by delaying regulations.

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Union officials cited an increase in incidents involving unruly passengers in 2020-2021 as a demonstration of the need to give cabin crew more rest between shifts. Airlines have reported fewer incidents since a federal requirement to wear face masks on flights ended in April.

“It’s a small handful of people that make it hell for the flight attendants on the front lines,” Nelson said.

In 2019 and 2021, the FAA analyzed public comments on the additional rest requirements and received more than 1,000 comments from airlines, flight attendants, and the public.

Airlines for America, a trade group representing the largest US airlines, said safety is always a top priority in the industry and “it is critical that flight attendants are rested and alert, ready to perform their duties, including cabin safety and other responsibilities. purpose”. The group said it supports “scientifically validated and evidence-based countermeasures to prevent fatigue.”

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