March 22, 2007
ALPA Brings Pilots’ Top Aviation Safety Concerns to Congress
Testimony before House Subcommittee on Aviation Highlights Pilot Fatigue and National Airspace System Upgrades
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Air Line Pilots Association’s (ALPA) Executive Air Safety Chairman Capt. Terry McVenes testified before the House Subcommittee on Aviation Thursday, highlighting ALPA’s positions and priorities on various Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Operational and Safety Programs.
“The present FAA flight duty and rest rules applicable to airline pilots are a dated patchwork of regulations developed over the past sixty years,” McVenes stated.
ALPA recommended that Congress strongly encourage the FAA to modernize flight-time/duty-time regulations based on rational, scientifically-based, working hour limits for pilots engaged in all commercial airline operations.
“Being on duty for 15 or 16 hours may be okay sitting behind a desk,” McVenes stated, “but it makes no sense for an airline pilot operating a complex machine in a complex environment and the American public’s lives who depend on him or her for split second decision making.”
ALPA outlined Congressional recommendations and FAA accountability measures which need attention in six safety and operational areas, including: (1) Pilot Fatigue; (2) “One Level of Safety and Security” for Cargo; (3) National Airspace System Modernization; (4) Safety Management System Implementation; (5) Runway Safety Areas of Concern; and (6) Outsourced Maintenance Oversight.
“Today’s air traffic system is under more pressure than ever to accommodate more airplanes in the same airspace,” McVenes said. “This pressure is highlighting weaknesses in the National Airspace System that may lead to an accident if not addressed. We must proactively manage the safety risk that exists in our industry though Safety Management Systems before an accident occurs.”
Overall, ALPA stressed the need for government and industry collaboration in maintaining the high level of aviation safety established in America. “Congress must help us ensure that the airline industry’s safety net is not eroded,” McVenes said. “Together we can advance aviation safety in the years to come. As professional aviators who help keep this industry safe, with the strong support of Congress, we are confident of success—success that is vital to the well-being of our Nation, our industry and the traveling public.”
Founded in 1931, ALPA is the largest pilot union, representing 60,000 cockpit crewmembers at 40 airlines in the U.S. and Canada. For more information, visit http://www.alpa.org.
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ALPA CONTACT: Linda Shotwell, Molly Martin, (703) 481-4440