Staying Ahead of the Curve

As part of ALPA’s mission to ensure that our industry remains the safest in the world, we are constantly working to stay ahead of new technologies that have the ability to improve safety. In recent years, we have been involved in the implementation of new technologies that allow our pilots to access critical data faster, have a greater awareness of their surroundings, fly more efficiently (with decreased levels of carbon emissions), and stay connected in new ways at FL370. At the same time, however, technology poses new challenges that ALPA and its members must also confront.

Less than 15 years ago, Apple released its first iPod to the public. Cameras built into phones wouldn’t come until the next year, and the first iPhone, which seems archaic by today’s standards, was released only eight years ago. And not that long ago, many believed that unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) were an imaginative and futuristic subplot in Hollywood movies.

Fast-forward to today. Technology has allowed us to combine all of the amazing inventions of yesterday into a single device—be it our tablets, phones, or even watches. While technology brings with it convenience, it also creates the potential for a dangerous environment—specifically for airline pilots. ALPA’s engagement on lithium batteries continues to mount, as you’ll read about the dangers of bulk shipments of the batteries that power our new technologies. You’ll also read about ALPA’s ongoing effort to prevent catastrophic events from happening and what you can do to help the cause. Regarding UAS, we continue to be a leading advocate for the safe integration of remotely piloted aircraft into our U.S. national air space system. Safety, above all else, should never be compromised.

For more than 84 years, we’ve been the watchdog of aviation safety and security in the skies and on the ground. And our mission for safety extends to safeguarding our members’ jobs. There is no greater threat to ALPA members than the growth of subsidized Persian Gulf airlines. ALPA continues its leadership role in advocating for fair competition in the global marketplace. Our ongoing, unyielding call for the U.S. government to open consultations and bring the governments of Qatar and the United Arab Emirates into compliance with U.S. Open Skies agreements has not wavered. It’s just one of many issues that ALPA’s pilot representatives, national officers, and staff tackle on a daily basis to ensure the longevity of the airline piloting profession in North America.