This Is Your Captain Speaking:

Tell Congress to reauthorize FAA funding and uphold safety standards. 

FAA Reauthorization: Modernizing and Operating in the Nation's Airspace

As the largest nongovernmental aviation safety organization in the world, safety is the foundation of everything we do as an association and individually as 54,000 professional airline pilots. "Schedule with Safety" has been our motto for almost 85 years. The FAA reauthorization, and Congress, is critical to promoting and advancing the highest safety standards in aviation. ALPA’s top priority is ensuring that FAA operations continue uninterrupted. We support a long-term bill that provides stable funding to enable the Agency to fulfill its safety mission and to implement NextGen and other air traffic system modernization initiatives.

The 2017 reauthorization bill must build upon the safety standards contained in the Airline Safety and FAA Extension Act of 2010 (PL 111-216) which passed both houses of Congress unanimously. In addition to mandating science-based flight and duty rules to mitigate pilot fatigue, PL 111-216 also proscribed requirements for pilot training, including minimum licensing and qualifications requirements for pilots to fly in FAR 121 airline service, airline pilot professional development and mentoring, aircraft type ratings and proficiency, experience in difficult weather conditions, etc. This legislation and following regulations were triggered by a number of tragic airline accidents that resulted in a significant number of fatalities. This legislation and resulting regulations have significantly improved aviation safety. The 2017 legislation must not weaken any safety standards or inhibit future regulations that are in the best interest of aviation safety.

The legislative authority for the FAA to operate expires at the end of fiscal year (FY) 2017. Deliberations are currently under way by leaders in both the House of Representatives and the Senate to create the framework for a bill that will be signed into law before the current authorization expires. ALPA remains hopeful that the reauthorization will be accomplished without the 20-plus extensions required to enact the current law. ALPA was invited to the table with decision-makers, in both chambers of Congress, early in the process to outline the priorities of the nation’s airline pilots. The FAA reauthorization legislation is typically the vehicle by which ALPA advances the bulk of its safety and aviation regulatory agenda.

FAA reauthorization follows on the heels of other major national infrastructure authorizations. However, ALPA will be a vocal advocate for protecting and promoting the U.S. airline industry and making the system safer and more efficient and will call on Congress to make NextGen a national priority. ALPA will also promote additional safety measures including the regulation of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), properly regulating the air transport of lithium batteries and dangerous goods, increasing essential security layers such as secondary barriers, and creating stronger protections for voluntary safety reporting programs. ALPA will also remain vigilant to stop any attempts to roll back safety regulations such as those recently implemented on pilot training or flight and duty time.