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News Release

Release #01.120
November 1, 2001

ALPA Praises FAA Actions on Collision Avoidance and FOQA

WASHINGTON, D.C.---The union that represents most of the nation’s airline pilots today praised the FAA for two recent announcements on actions to improve aviation safety, a proposal to mandate collision avoidance devices on cargo aircraft, and a final rule that clears the way for airlines to collect and use internally generated safety data.

"Although we all are caught up in responding to the security issues thrust upon us by the September 11 attack, it is good to see that the FAA continues in its role of providing the highest level of safety in all aspects of aviation," said Capt. Duane Woerth, president of the Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA).

Yesterday the FAA issued a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) that would require all cargo airliners to have a collision avoidance system equivalent to the TCAS system currently required on passenger airliners. ALPA had lobbied for such a requirement under its "One Level of Safety" campaign, arguing that although cargo airliners do not regularly carry passengers, they share airspace with passenger airliners, and that they deserve such protection in their own right.

On Tuesday the FAA issued its final rule that protects data gathered by airlines under the Flight Operations Quality Assurance (FOQA) programs. Airlines and pilots were concerned that without such protections, raw data could be misinterpreted or used adversely against carriers and pilots. The protections do not apply to criminal cases or deliberate abuse.

ALPA actively promoted the FOQA concept, with appropriate protections, as a way to utilize data that already was being collected by special flight data recording devices for purposes of maintenance and performance measuring. Trend analysis of the data can pinpoint incipient or ongoing problems that reduce safety margins. Under FOQA, the airline can correct the problems without regulatory repercussions, and the information then can be shared with other carriers to cure or prevent similar problems elsewhere within the industry.

The FAA concurrently announced creation of a FOQA Aviation Rulemaking Committee. ALPA will participate on the committee, the primary purpose of which is to identify by Nov. 30 a means of compliance with the data-handling provisions of the final rule, which would be acceptable to both industry and government.

ALPA represents 66,000 airline pilots at 47 airlines in the U.S. and Canada. Its Web site is at

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ALPA CONTACTS: John Mazor, Ron Lovas (703) 481-4440