ALPA Kicks Off Air Safety Forum in Washington D.C.

July 26, 2006

ALPA’s president, Capt. Duane Woerth, addressed members of ALPA’s air safety structure on Wednesday as airline pilots gathered in Washington, D.C., to take part in the Association’s 52nd Air Safety Forum. Capt. Woerth took the opportunity to talk about ALPA’s ongoing initiatives to improve aviation safety and reflected on the Association’s long record of tackling difficult air safety concerns.

“You can draw a direct link between ALPA’s initial emergence as a pilot’s union back in 1931 and the implementation of a number of significant improvements in airline safety - improvements that translate into lives saved,” said Capt. Woerth. “ALPA pilot volunteers and staff have worked hard to make airline travel the safest form of transportation in human history.”

Capt. Woerth went on to outline ALPA’s approach to addressing existing safety concerns, suggesting that industry and government need to change the way they think about airline safety.

“The first step is to banish forever the philosophy that fixing the problem isn’t worth the cost until there is a smoking hole in the ground. Unfortunately, our industry has a long record of ignoring the warning signs until tragedy strikes.”

Capt. Woerth pointed to the success of safety initiatives such as Aviation Safety Action Programs (ASAP) and Flight Operational Quality Assurance (FOQA) data sharing. He said that it is unacceptable that some airlines have failed to implement such measures and pledged that ALPA would make adopting ASAP and FOQA programs an imperative.

Attendees also heard from a number of speakers, including ALPA’s Executive Air Safety Chairman, Capt. Terry McVenes (US Airways); Rep. James Oberstar (D-Minnesota), ranking member of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee; and the Honourable Merv Tweed M.P., Chairman of the Canadian Parliament's Standing Committee on Transport.

The Air Safety Forum will continue through Thursday, as the Association wraps up a week of events dedicated to improving airline safety and security. The forum will culminate in ALPA’s Annual Air Safety Awards Banquet on Thursday evening.