Q&A with Representative Brian Fitzpatrick
By ALPA Staff
Air Line Pilot sat down with the Honorable Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), who represents the First Congressional District of Pennsylvania, to talk about his work on the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and its Aviation Subcommittee and about the airline industry. Fitzpatrick, an ardent supporter of mandatory secondary flight deck barriers, is the recipient of this year’s ALPA Pilot Partisan of the Year Award.
Air Line Pilot: Why did you decide to run for Congress?
Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick: I believe that every American deserves a fair shot at success. I’m fighting to make certain that our institutions serve us, not Washington bureaucrats or career politicians, so that all who work hard can live fulfilling lives of dignity and opportunity.
What sets airline pilots apart from other constituents?
Fitzpatrick: Airline pilots play a vital role in commercial and trade travel across the country. Many of our airline pilots are veterans who’ve bravely served our country and are now using their skills to help our society. They’re highly skilled and well-trained workers who understand their trade very well. Safety is always their top priority, and I know during this challenging time that they’re helping to ensure that their passengers and crew are protected from COVID-19 as much as possible.
What piece of legislation are you most proud of?
Fitzpatrick: My proudest contribution to aviation policy has been adding the secondary barriers mandate in the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018, in honor of Capt. Victor J. Saracini, who was killed when terrorists hijacked United Flight 175 on Sept. 11, 2001. As our nation continues to combat the threat of terrorism, it’s crucial that air travel frameworks are enhanced to keep our nation safe. Protecting the cockpits of our nation’s airplanes is critical in preventing commercial airliners from hijacking and deterring malicious actors around the globe. The Department of Transportation has moved slowly to implement the provision, but I’m confident that we’ll have secondary barriers on aircraft in the future.
What advice would you give ALPA members who want to get involved in legislative action?
Fitzpatrick: I always enjoy hearing from my constituents. Since I serve on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Aviation Subcommittee, I value the level of expertise and the experiences that airline pilots have. I would encourage pilots to contact their Members of Congress to tell their stories and share their knowledge. We all fly often, many members as much as twice a week, but we may not know the concerns and perspectives of those flying us to our destinations.