Release #06.071
December 8, 2006

ALPA Reacts to Release of Pilots from Brazil

WASHINGTON, D.C. --- In reaction to the release by Brazilian authorities of two pilots who had been detained since they were involved in an aviation accident on September 29, Capt. Paul Rice, ALPA's vice-president–administration/secretary, released the following statement:

“ALPA is gratified that the Brazilian justice system has at long last allowed Joseph Lepore and Jan Paladino to return to the United States. We remain dissatisfied with the treatment that these two pilots, one of whom is a furloughed ALPA member and the other a former ALPA member, received, as well as with the public condemnation that some Brazilian officials engaged in during the days after the accident. Furthermore, we do not believe that any criminal charges should have been filed against these pilots.

“Criminalizing action by pilots involved in aviation accidents is a serious concern to all ALPA members, other professional pilots, and the flying public. The threat of criminal prosecution of pilots undermines a healthy safety culture. It interferes with the effective and efficient investigation of aircraft accidents, but more importantly, it inhibits the collection of information needed to prevent the reoccurrence of a similar accident. Pilots need to be free to ensure the safe completion of their flight, and should not be distracted by the threat of a criminal investigation or imprisonment for doing their job.

“ALPA will be closely watching this case as it unfolds, knowing that it will hold important ramifications for the future. We are pleased that the two pilots are returning home, and we will continue to work with our own government and those of other nations to ensure that future incidents like this are handled in accordance with International Civil Aviation Organization principles.”

ALPA represents 60,000 airline pilots at 39 airlines in the U.S. and Canada.

# # #

ALPA CONTACT: Pete Janhunen, Linda Shotwell, (703) 481-4440,