Release #04.008
March 24, 2004

ALPA Praises DOT Plan to Reduce Air Traffic Congestion

WASHINGTON, D.C.---The head of the union that represents most of the nation’s airline pilots commends Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta for his announcement to take new steps to reduce air traffic congestion.

"The ‘Growth Without Gridlock’ conference produced a System Operating Plan that will go a long way toward safely enhancing the capacity of our air traffic system in the face of growing traffic volume. It is a remarkable collaboration between government, the airlines, and other users of air traffic services. As one of the participants, ALPA endorses both the goals and the methods to reach those goals," said Capt. Duane E. Woerth, president of the Air Line Pilots Association, International.

ALPA applauds the collaborative agreement of FAA and airlines to adjust flight routes throughout the National Airspace System (NAS) and hold planes on the ground to free up air routes. This will reduce overall delay times at congested airports by allowing planes to depart and merge into the air traffic flow as safely and efficiently as weather permits.

"In the past, our ability to come to grips with these problems has been hampered because various elements at various times and places would try to ‘game’ the system to their advantage. We all realize now that it’s an all or nothing proposition, and everyone has to play by the same rules. In addition to Secretary Mineta, FAA Administrator Marion Blakey, and Russell Chew, chief operating officer of the FAA’s Air Traffic Organization, are to be commended for pulling together the many industry and government elements that are essential to this plan," Woerth said.

"To assist airline pilots with their role in this cooperative effort, ALPA will be issuing a bulletin to its pilots on how it will affect their operations in the cockpit," Woerth said.

ALPA, the world’s oldest and largest pilot union, represents 64,000 airline pilots at 42 airlines in the U.S. and Canada. Visit the ALPA Web site at


ALPA CONTACT: John Mazor (703) 481-4440