ALPA's Communications Department provides information and support for news media inquiries. An ALPA communications representative can be reached in the Herndon, Va. office at (703) 481-4440.

News Release

Release #02.042
May 17, 2002

World’s Largest Pilots’ Union Condemns Pilot Prosecutions

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The world’s largest pilots’ union lauds the Republic of Korea for recognizing international accident investigation practices in a recent statement, but remains concerned with the inclination of other countries to prosecute pilots following an aircraft accident or serious incident as this trend has the potential to seriously undermine global aviation safety. The threat of pilot prosecution has made headlines in recent days as a Japanese pilot involved in an incident that occurred in 1997 has been prosecuted on a charge of professional-negligence-resulting-in-death.

Pilots across the globe participate in accident investigations freely disclosing pertinent information about an incident to assess its cause and further aviation safety by addressing the factors that led to an accident. This process has worked for decades, ensuring that preventable accidents are not repeated. Yet a disturbing trend of possible pilot prosecutions in Japan, Taiwan and Greece undermines the integrity of this system.

The Delegation of the Republic of Korea on the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has decided not to prosecute the pilot of a recent Air China accident that occurred in Korea, saying:

"As you may know, the Republic of Korea is a member of the Council of ICAO and fully understands the importance of conducting accident investigations in accordance with Annex 13, Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation, for aviation safety. At this moment, investigations are indeed being carried out in Korea, together with the People’s Republic of China and the United States, pursuant to the standards set by ICAO in this matter.

"Furthermore, the Government of the Republic of Korea believes that it is essential for international pilots to be reassured that, in the event of an accident or serious incident, they will not be subject to any criminal proceedings or investigations outside the scope of the provisions of ICAO Annex 13."

ALPA commends the actions of the Republic of Korea in recognizing the responsibility to act in accordance with international best practice and calls on the authorities of Taiwan, Japan and Greece to act in the same manner.

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s oldest and largest pilot union, representing more than 62,000 cockpit crewmembers at 42 airlines in the U.S. and Canada. Visit the ALPA website at

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ALPA Contact: Anya Piazza, (703) 481-4440