A New Decade of Bold Collaboration

By Capt. Joe DePete, ALPA President

Predictions for air transport this new decade affirm a fact that ALPA members already know—the value that pilots and the airline industry bring to the global economy is staggering. In 2020, consumers and businesses are expected to spend $908 billion globally on air transport.

An economic contribution of this scale doesn’t occur by chance; the accomplishment is the result of boldness and courage on the part of current ALPA pilots as well as those who came before us. For 89 years, ALPA pilots have brought the industry together to forge solutions that help create a strong, safe, and sustainable air transportation sector that instills confidence in our passengers and shippers and inspires new aviators.

As showcased in the profiles of our pilot groups, ALPA members have always been incredibly resilient. We demonstrate a boldness that helps us work in unison as a flight crew to withstand difficulty and at times even danger as we perform our jobs.

Our collective resolve is no different at the bargaining table, as we’ve battled through economic downturns or obtained a fair share of the success that we’ve earned for our companies. ALPA members past and present hold the fortitude to prevail over misinformation and intransigence wherever it may exist.

As a new decade begins, we’re focused on not only increasing our established influence but also communicating with a louder voice ALPA pilots’ contribution to our companies, nations’ competitiveness, and global economy. We recognize that flying an airliner in today’s complex airspace requires a crew effort—at least two of us on the flight deck. But this “crew effort” extends far beyond the flight deck as we work together in the halls of Congress and Parliament and with management and regulators.

ALPA constantly demonstrates the power of our pilots’ collaborative strength. In fact, our national officer team is always exploring ways to expand our influence in advancing pilot-partisan aviation and labor policy while delivering even greater value for our members.

With the guidance of ALPA’s strategic plan, our union members work together and with others based on our shared roots in unity and the dignity of work. This bold collaborative approach—emphasizing the interconnectedness of all pilots and, indeed, all workers—allows us to focus our energy in a positive, constructive way.

We know that the results of this sustained collaboration can be nothing short of extraordinary. In one example, by working to bring together a coalition of airline pilots associations, ALPA for the first time demonstrated support for the Safe Skies Act by all U.S. pilots who fly cargo.

In another demonstration, ALPA recently convened a joint meeting with Boeing and the FAA as our latest action in an ongoing effort to ensure that pilots are fully informed and engaged in evaluating when the B-737 MAX can safely return to service. Our union will continue to work together with Boeing, the FAA, and Transport Canada to make certain that our perspective is reflected and safety is paramount.

Under the Fee-for-Departure Committee’s joint standing committee structure, we’ve also created a collaborative forum for ALPA’s pilots who fly for fee-for-departure and mainline partner airlines to work together to ensure that we’re all fully informed and furthering our collective career-progression and safety goals.

Similarly, as Delta Air Lines and WestJet Airlines seek antitrust immunity for their proposed transborder joint venture, the Delta and WestJet Master Executive Councils have come together to press for conditions that ensure their respective employees share equitably in any new flying generated through the joint venture.

ALPA is also leveraging pilots’ collaborative strength more globally. We helped bring the world’s pilots together at the International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations to make progress at the International Civil Aviation Organization’s Air Navigation Commission toward our goal of ensuring the highest global standards for airline pilot qualification and training.

The value that ALPA pilots and our industry contribute to the global economy is enormous. So is our power when we collaborate to create a stronger career and a safer industry.