Powered by Pilots

Collectively, we—a combination of 52,000 pilots of the Air Line Pilots Association, International and the 300-plus staff members—have a unified purpose: to promote, defend, and advance the safety and welfare of our airline pilots and the piloting profession. This purpose drives the daily efforts of our volunteer leaders and staff and sets our goals and objectives as put forward in the union’s strategic plan.

As we move forward into 2016—ALPA’s 85th year of existence—we use this time to assess and evaluate our objectives to ensure that they’re aligned with this purpose as we begin to develop our next strategic plan. Do our significant activities and actions use the most current and innovative tools to promote, defend, and advance our efforts in safety and security? In pilot welfare? In the future of our profession? If we can’t answer a resounding “yes” to each of these questions, then it’s our obligation to reconsider new approaches to our objectives and the resources applied. Do the issues we tackle, the narratives we endeavor to shape, and the efforts currently in place help us to secure and enhance our role as the most influential and respected voice in the airline industry—representing all airline pilots in North America? Only thoughtful and strategic decisions and execution will keep us on that path.

You’ll read in Capt. Tim Canoll’s column that the Association’s Constitution and By-Laws “set our union’s sails.” Indeed, they point us in the direction this union has been headed since the time the pioneers of the profession—ALPA’s Key Men—were courageous enough to assemble to provide a unified voice for airline pilots. Today, ALPA members are a continuation of that history. And to celebrate ALPA’s 85th anniversary on July 27, we’re paying tribute to the generations of airline pilots who embraced this union’s mission and were moved to action. This issue highlights ALPA’s first president, Capt. David Behncke, who was posthumously described as “a man who spoke for pilots when they needed a voice…and helped…to dignify the pilot’s place in a great new industry.”

Eighty-five years later, the same holds true for the men and women who carry ALPA’s torch today. The Association is indeed powered by pilots and supported by staff who are honored to be a part of this union’s vision.