ALPA

Leadership From the Cockpit

Growing up in an airline family, I had my sights firmly set on an airline job at an early age. My mom worked in the IT Department at Alaska Airlines and frequent family flights opened my eyes to the opportunity of flying for a living. As part of an elementary-school assignment looking at future career choices, I proudly announced to my class that I wanted to become an airline pilot … and I’ve never looked back.

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From our flight deck window, airline pilots have a rare perspective on the earth. We see the droughts, forest fires, and storms that are linked to climate change, but our view is also shaped by practices and policies that already allow us to contribute to a cleaner environment. Now, airline pilots are eager to do even more to protect our planet under the Biden administration’s new climate plan.

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A year into the pandemic, the Canadian government has yet to provide substantive support for the airline industry. The jobs of the nation’s aviation workers—some of the hardest hit by the pandemic—and the nation’s economic recovery remain in jeopardy. Despite cautious optimism for the year ahead, Canadian aviation needs help now.

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With the airline industry’s global scope, pilots often witness history in the making and sometimes even take an active role. For the pilots of Kalitta Air, it is often another day’s work. Members of the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) since 2018, these pilots have recently been honored for their extraordinary, global efforts at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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On the night of February 12, 2009, Colgan Air Flight 3407 crashed on approach to Buffalo, N.Y. All 49 passengers and crew died, as well as one fatality on the ground. The accident was the last in a series of four high-profile fatal airline accidents over a six-year timeframe in the United States, and the ensuing investigation introduced serious questions regarding numerous safety issues within the airline industry—in particular, pilot training, experience, and qualifications. 

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