Captain John Prater, President
Air Line Pilots Association, International
Capt. John Prater is the eighth president of the Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA). He was elected by the union’s Board of Directors on Oct. 18, 2006, and began his four-year term on Jan. 1, 2007.
His election signaled a change in direction for the largest airline pilot union in the world. Under Prater’s leadership, ALPA has taken an aggressive stance aimed at restoring strength within the union, defending the professional standards and interests of airline pilots, and reclaiming losses suffered when pilots helped to save the industry after the events of 9/11.
As ALPA’s chief executive and administrative officer, Prater oversees daily operations of the Association and presides over the meetings of ALPA’s governing bodies, which set policy for the organization. He is also chief spokesman for the union, advancing pilots’ views before Congress, Parliament, government agencies, and the news media.
Prater's labor affiliations include membership on the Executive Council of the AFL-CIO and the Executive Committee of the Transportation Trades Department of the AFL-CIO.
He also is a member of the Air Traffic Management Advisory Committee, Air Traffic Management Steering Committee, the NGATS Institute Management Council (IMC), and the NGATS Institute Executive Committee. He served as a member and co-chairman of the FAA Age 60 Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC). Prater is also an elected member of the Labor Advisory Board of the American Income Life Insurance Company.
Prater, who comes from a family background of strong union supporters, has served in positions ranging from strike committee chairman to chairman of the Continental pilots’ Master Executive Council (MEC), as well as vice chairman of the international Wings Alliance (now part of the Skyteam Alliance). He helped to lead union fights against such notorious airline management figures as Frank Lorenzo, Carl Icahn, and Dick Ferris.
Currently a B-767 captain, Prater has flown the B-727, DC-8, DC-10, A300, B-757, and B-777, for passenger and cargo airlines during a piloting career that spans three and a half decades. Before joining Continental, he flew for a number of companies, including Buckeye, Skyway, the Wall Street Journal, United (as an instructor), and contract freight for UPS/Airborne. His experience spans several eras: He flew as a single pilot on night freight runs in WWII-era propeller airplanes and, more recently, was a member of ALPA’s working group addressing the development of the B-787.
A graduate of Parks College of St. Louis University with a bachelor’s degree in meteorology, Prater is a resident of Edwardsville, Ill., with his wife, Michele, and daughter, Alexandra.