Sharing Our Success

By Capt. Joe DePete, ALPA President

U.S. and Canadian airline pilots gain more than ever with the crystal-clear advantage of ALPA membership. ALPA is simply beyond compare in delivering the results our dues-paying pilots demand. The proof? Our industry-leading contracts, safety and security work, pilot assistance and support, and the foundation we’re building for the future. Our members benefit first—with the entire profession sharing in ALPA’s success.

Recently, Acting Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Administrator David Pekoske accepted my invitation to address ALPA’s Executive Board regarding recent changes in the Known Crewmember® (KCM) program. He left no doubt about the value he places on KCM and its contribution to aviation security.

The TSA administrator noted that ALPA’s leaders have clearly communicated about the issues that line pilots are experiencing with the electronic randomizer function. He listened to our pilots’ perspectives and emphasized the importance of the reports that our members are providing. As a result of our conversation, he pledged to review the system.

ALPA and KCM clearly have the administrator’s attention, thanks to the work of our national officers, Air Safety Organization leaders and volunteers, and professional staff. He heard loud and clear not just our concerns, but also our commitment to achieving the KCM program’s full potential to enhance the security and efficiency of air transportation.

Following his KCM comments, Administrator Pekoske also thanked the pilot volunteers who help secure our skies as part of the Federal Flight Deck Officer (FFDO) program—another initiative along with KCM that ALPA helped create and design to the benefit of our members and also the piloting profession.

While I’ve spoken with him many times, Administrator Pekoske’s presentation reminded me just how much ALPA pilots contribute to our profession. While the KCM and FFDO programs are prime examples, ALPA has conceived and implemented a tremendous range of research, training, programs, and resources that benefit our dues-paying members but also other airline pilots around the globe.

In this issue, another benefit of ALPA membership is on display as we present the latest airline industry analysis from ALPA’s Economic & Financial Analysis team. Our union’s economists and financial analysts support ALPA pilots at every stage in collective bargaining. Our professional staff helps pilot groups understand their airlines’ financial condition as well as the health of the global economy and equips our pilots with contract comparisons and proposal costing. A full team of analysts who are experts in airline financial analysis, pilot contracts, and collective bargaining are truly a unique resource available only to ALPA pilot groups.

Relatedly, I’ve always felt that you can judge an organization by how it comes to the aid of its members in need. ALPA’s Air Safety Organization has positively influenced, assisted, and supported our members but also airline pilots around the world through our Aeromedical, Critical Incident Response Program (CIRP), HIMS, Professional Standards, and Canadian Pilot Assistance programs.

For example, our CIRP effort has built an incredibly strong international presence. In the past few years, ALPA has responded to several aviation incidents in the United States that involved foreign-operated aircraft. These events, along with many others, show the worldwide collaboration that allows ALPA’s CIRP volunteers to be present for our members and for other pilots wherever and whenever they’re needed.

We’re also leading the charge like no other organization in driving collaboration to effect positive safety change. For instance, we’re working with lawmakers to continue to hold the FAA accountable for its failure to implement secondary flight deck barriers on all newly manufactured passenger aircraft. We also just held our first-ever joint Commercial Space Conference with the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, spearheading an effort to advance the safe integration of commercial space activities into the national airspace. You’ll read more about this in the December issue.

In all these ways and so many more—including accident investigation, jumpseat access, legal counsel, aviation policy, and legislative advocacy—ALPA stands out among the world’s pilots’ unions. As union brothers and sisters, ALPA generously shares our success. While we selectively offer our expertise and resources to airline pilots who aren’t members, ALPA pilots are always at the front of the line.

Truly, there’s only one ALPA. And only ALPA houses such expertise and creates our caliber of resources. Our union’s goal is to move all airline pilots forward. But it’s my job to make sure that ALPA’s dues-paying members benefit most.