February 11, 2014
ALPA Applauds Sleep Apnea Legislation Approval by U.S. House: Calls on Senate to Pass Bipartisan Legislation Swiftly
WASHINGTON—The Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA) issued the following statement in support of legislation that today passed the U.S. House of Representatives, which requires the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to follow the appropriate rulemaking process in order to make any changes to medical certification for pilots and air traffic controllers with regard to sleep apnea.
“ALPA applauds the United States House of Representatives for passing bipartisan legislation [H.R. 3578] that ensures that any FAA policy changes to a pilot’s medical certificate related to sleep apnea will go through a proper rulemaking process that includes input from industry stakeholders. We appreciate Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ) and Rep. Rick Larsen (D-WA) for their leadership in shepherding this bill quickly through the House. Now that the bill has been passed by the House with overwhelming support, we call on the Senate for similar approval. Today’s action by the House brings the industry one step closer to maintaining a fair and reasonable approach to medical screening for Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).
“The FAA had proposed to require that Aviation Medical Examiners (AMEs) calculate the Body Mass Index (BMI) for each pilot and air traffic controller, requiring that applicants with a BMI of 40 or more be evaluated by a physician who is a board certified sleep specialist. ALPA believes that this single-criteria approach should be replaced by one which takes into account the pilot’s medical history, and one which provides ample time for a pilot who suffers from OSA to address it before putting his or her medical certificate at risk.
“A medical certificate for a commercial airline pilot is their livelihood, and any actions taken to change or alter the requirements to acquire or retain one needs to be thoroughly discussed in advance with leading industry stakeholders including ALPA.”
Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilot union, representing nearly 50,000 pilots at 31 airlines in the United States and Canada. Visit the ALPA website at www.alpa.org or follow us on Twitter @WeAreALPA.
CONTACT: ALPA Media, 703/481-4440 or Media@alpa.org
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