Release #08.056
December 9, 2008

ALPA Stands Shoulder-to-Shoulder with Alitalia Pilots
Questions Airline’s Interference with Pilots’ Judgment on Operational Matters

WASHINGTON—Capt. John Prater, president of the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), today issued the following statement expressing concern about the growing interference by Italian government authorities with operational decisions made by the pilots of Alitalia.

“The Associazione Nazionale Piloti Aviazione (ANPAC), the Italian pilots’ union, has informed ALPA that, on a number of occasions, Italian authorities have been questioning Alitalia pilots about operational decisions. In one case, this included having an airport police officer enter a cockpit to interrogate a pilot about a routine safety decision he had made.

“Actions such as these, which are clearly designed to intimidate pilots and to influence their professional judgment, are completely at odds with the culture of safety that has allowed the air transport sector to develop a safety record unparalleled by any other.

“Final technical decisions about aircraft operations should only be made by the pilot in command, subject to later review by the appropriate professionals in his or her airline or the government.

“We urge the Italian government to ensure that its desire to achieve certain business objectives does not adversely affect the ability of Italy’s airlines and their employees to meet the high standards that are essential to maintaining the public’s trust and their own economic viability.”

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilot union representing more than 53,000 pilots at 37 airlines in the United States and Canada.

# # #

Contacts: Linda Shotwell or Molly Martin, 703/481-4440 or