Pilot Health & Medical Certification—Aviation Safety Starts Here
Today, the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA) brought
together aeromedical leadership from the United States and
Canada to discuss the current state of pilot health and medical
certification issues that have critical implications for
commercial aviation. Supporting the conference was the Aerospace
Medical Association (AsMA).
The symposium, “Pilot Health and Medical
Certification—Aviation Safety Starts Here,” was the first ever
ALPA-sponsored aviation medical symposium that specifically
discussed Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Transport
Canada policy issues and potential changes to aeromedical
guidelines and criteria used to medically certify pilots. It
featured a direct dialog and debate with the new FAA federal air
surgeon and Transport Canada’s chief medical officer.
Read more about the Pilot Health & Medical Certification
Global Realities Require Local Action
Hundreds of pilots from around the world convened last week
at the 4th annual Global Pilots’ Symposium not just to
discuss the common challenges of all airline pilots, but
also to develop a plan of action and commit to executing on
Their urgent, collective resolve was underscored by
keynote speaker Capt. Don Marcus, international president of
the International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots,
who retold the harrowing tale of the decimation of the U.S.
maritime industry due to the “flag of convenience” system.
During his presentation, “The Impact of Open International
Competition on U.S. Maritime Labor,” Marcus relayed
staggering statistics as a harbinger of what could happen to
the global airline system.
Read more about the 2014 Global Pilots’ Symposium.
FFDO Stakeholders Meet in Memphis
The ALPA Security team hosted the Federal Flight Deck
Officer (FFDO) stakeholder meeting in Memphis last week at
the FedEx MEC offices. Many stakeholders, including other
unions and airlines, were present. The ALPA Security team
had productive discussions and participation with the
Federal Air Marshal Service (FAMS), which administers the
FFDO program—FAMS is doing everything possible to support
the FFDO mission.
The proposed White House budget for 2015 recommends that
annual FFDO funding be reduced by $4.9 million. This is
completely unsatisfactory—especially in light of the fact
that the FFDO program is arguably the most cost-effective
aviation security program in operation today. The ALPA
Security team, supported by the ALPA Government Affairs
group, will again take up the challenge and work with our
legislators to restore FFDO funding back to the original $25
Read more about the FFDO stakeholder meeting.
CommutAir Pilots Raise the Bar for Regionals
Proving that a small group of committed pilots can raise
standards across an industry, aviators at CommutAir have
ratified new pay raises and other improvements to help their
airline attract and retain qualified pilots. By an 87 percent
margin, CommutAir pilots approved a package of midcontract
improvements that will help set the table for further
advancements when they return for full Section 6 negotiations
The new letter of agreement at CommutAir, among the
lowest-paying regionals at ALPA, will raise pay from 12 percent
to as much as 24 percent depending on longevity. Equally
important, the deal greatly improves the quality of life for
commuters with its parking reimbursements, new deadhead
language, and up to four company-paid hotel nights per month for
commuters to use before beginning a trip.
“As a pilot group, we have spoken. We’ve told the company we
will only make positive changes to attract and retain pilots,
and will not take concessions,” said CommutAir MEC chairman
Capt. John Bassett.
American Eagle Pilots Reject Concessionary Contract
American Eagle pilots expressed their collective will and
rejected a concessionary contract proposed by American Airlines
Group (AAG). With 92 percent of the eligible pilots casting
their ballots, 70 percent voted against ratification of the
“The Eagle pilots made a clear choice and it was not an easy
one,” said Capt. Bill Sprague, Eagle MEC chairman. “Despite
threats from AAG management that they would seek other express
carriers to conduct our flying, this vote demonstrates that the
demands for contract concessions were not acceptable. This vote
clearly shows that pilots can, and will, vote against any
agreement that is not in their best interests.”
Read more about the proposed EGL pilot contract.
Known Crewmember Program Reaches Milestone with Launch of 40th Facility
The Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), Airlines for
America (A4A), and the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA)
this week announced the expansion of the Known Crewmember (KCM)
program to include General Mitchell International Airport (MKE).
The new facility joins the KCM program as its 40th location. KCM
is a risk-based security screening program that enables
Transportation Security Administration (TSA) security officers
to positively verify the identity and employment status of
KCM facilities are dedicated security screening lanes for use
by prescreened airline personnel that allow passengers in
separate lines to move through TSA checkpoints with less delay.
Testing of risk-based screening for flight crews began in 2008
and was approved by the TSA for expansion in 2009. As a result
of ALPA’s successful partnerships with A4A and the TSA, KCM has
evolved into a robust nationwide program, having screened over
15 million transits to date.
Read more about the KCM program.
FAA Implementing New Climb Via, Speed Adjustment Phraseology
On April 3, 2014, the FAA will implement “CLIMB VIA”
phraseology and procedures for standard instrument departures (SIDs).
“CLIMB VIA” is an ATC clearance authorizing pilots to
navigate a SID vertically and laterally while complying with all
published restrictions. It is consistent with existing
“DESCEND VIA” phraseology and procedures for standard
terminal arrival routes (STARs), which have been in use for more
than a decade.
In addition to the new “CLIMB VIA” phraseology, the
FAA will implement new speed restrictions and speed adjustments
phraseology. To help pilots better distinguish when compliance
with speed restrictions is required and when speed is at the
pilot’s discretion, new phraseology has been developed that will
apply in all situations, including conventional and RNAV SIDs
and STARS. ALPA issued Operations Bulletin 2014-01 to provide
crews with information on the new phraseology.
Read the bulletin.
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