59th Air Safety Forum Public Days Commence
U.S. House Aviation Subcommittee Chairman LoBiondo Highlights Opening Ceremony

Capt. Lee Moak, president of the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), today opened the public days of the union’s 59th Air Safety Forum in Washington, D.C., saying, “Knowing your fellow crewmembers have your back and are by your side are mainstays, the chief support, behind ALPA’s safety, security, and pilot assistance work.”

The two-day public forum agenda, which is tailored around the “ALPA By Your Side” theme, features keynote presentations from many of the airline industry’s most influential leaders and panel discussions with renowned experts from across North America on both emerging and long-present aviation safety and security issues.

During the opening ceremony, Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.), chairman of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Aviation Subcommittee, brought attendees news about the Congressional subcommittee’s priorities for safeguarding the U.S. air transportation system.

Rep. LoBiondo emphasized that he will ensure his subcommittee works closely with ALPA and other stakeholder groups. He noted the subcommittee’s goal to get ahead of the next FAA reauthorization “so that we are not waiting until the last minute.” Rep. LoBiondo also highlighted the priority he places on implementing NextGen and a key House Aviation Subcommittee hearing to be held later in the day to explore with federal government leaders the cause of delays in modernizing the U.S. air transportation system.

The House Aviation Subcommittee chairman received several questions from ASF attendees, including one regarding his position on foreign ownership of U.S. airlines. “From my vantage point, I am totally, completely, 100 percent against foreign ownership,” he said. He added that the climate on the subcommittee today is similar to that in the past, with strong bipartisan opposition “to a very misguided idea.”

ALPA’s president also addressed ASF attendees. Capt. Moak voiced ALPA’s serious concern about the accident investigation process surrounding Asiana Airlines Flight 214. He said that ALPA volunteers were immediately on the scene in San Francisco to support the crew and passengers as well as to assist with the investigation as appropriate. As head of the world’s largest nongovernmental aviation safety organization, ALPA’s president expressed alarm at the National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB) incremental release of technical details about the accident before a thorough investigation can take place.

“Without all the facts surrounding a catastrophic event like this, partial or incomplete information can lead to erroneous conclusions and misguided assessments of the crew’s intentions and actions,” said Capt. Moak. “The unintended consequence is actually undercutting safety.

“I want to stress that ALPA fully supports open, objective, and thorough investigations to find all factors involved in the accident—not simply the most convenient to identify quickly,” Moak said. “Our goal is to prevent such an accident from happening again.”

Capt. Moak went on to brief ASF attendees on ALPA’s other work in the safety and security arena, including implementing the Federal Aviation Administration’s new pilot qualification rule, promoting NextGen, bringing all airline pilots under the FAA’s new pilot-rest rule through passage of the Safe Skies Act, and securing adequate funding for the Federal Flight Deck Officer program.

The more than 300 government, industry, and labor representatives who attended the ALPA Air Safety Forum opening ceremony in person and online will have the opportunity to take part in a broad range of dynamic panels during the forum. Issues to be covered range from aviation safety and security from a legislative perspective to pilot monitoring, the need for one level of safety for all-cargo pilots, threatened airspace management, risk-based security, air traffic control, emergency response, and airport surface safety.

More coverage of ALPA’s 59th Air Safety Forum to come. Read about the Forum Opening.