Release #09.078
October 30, 2009

Integrity of Aviation Safety Reporting Programs Essential

WASHINGTON, 9:30 a.m. ET – Capt. John Prater, president of the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), issued the following statement today.

“The Flight 188 incident is currently under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board. ALPA is bound by its status as a party to decline any public comment while the investigation is under way.

“The goal of any incident or accident investigation must be to do everything possible to prevent such an occurrence from happening again. A thorough investigation process and accurate safety information are essential.

“Recent events have caused ALPA pilots grave concern about the integrity of safety reporting programs—such as the FAA’s Aviation Safety Action Program (ASAP)—that have become a cornerstone of safety in the U.S. airline industry.

“The release of information, even factually accurate information provided through safety reporting programs, before the investigatory process is permitted to work not only sets the stage for sensationalism and distracts from the investigation, it also undermines ASAP and other voluntary reporting programs that are proven to make the air transportation system even safer.

“ALPA supports the highest standards of professional behavior for airline pilots, but at the same time we expect aviation safety professionals throughout government and industry to adhere to similarly high standards in ensuring that all facts surrounding incidents and accidents are allowed to be brought to light before conclusions are drawn.

“I sent letters to Federal Aviation Administrator Randolph Babbitt and NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman underscoring ALPA’s grave concern about the integrity of this information and the recent departure from an established investigation process. I have already met with members of the U.S. Senate, and ALPA staff have met with members of the U.S. House where I will go next, to make clear the vital role these safety reporting programs play in safeguarding passengers, crews, and cargo, and how a rush to judgment, before all the facts are in and the investigation is complete, fails to advance safety.

“ALPA stands ready as fellow safety professionals to participate in all efforts to improve aviation safety through complete investigation of incidents and accidents and protection of vital aviation safety programs.”

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilots union, representing nearly 53,500 pilots at 36 airlines in the United States and Canada.


Contact: Linda Shotwell, 703/481-4440 or

Editor’s Note: As a party to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation of Flight 188, ALPA is not able to comment or grant interviews on the incident or related issues at this time.