Pilots Lay It on the Line

By: Capt. Tim Canoll, ALPA President

“I believe most things can be said in a few lines,” said Enzo Ferrari, historic designer, builder, and racer of epic sports cars. Even though he was born 120 years ago, Ferrari’s words prove prescient now. Creating a profile online or in print forces us to distill into just a few words who we are and what we hold most important.

At ALPA, our members determine the words in our union’s profile. Based on our pilots’ strategic plan, our members embody the portrait of our union with adjectives such as “professional,” “fully qualified,” and “well trained,” and roles such as “safety advocate,” “seasoned negotiator,” and “union leader.”

In this issue of Air Line Pilot, each ALPA pilot group profile presents the achievements made possible by our members. Last year, airline company profits were strong, creating a positive bargaining environment at many carriers that we expect to continue. Individual pilot group leaders develop independent bargaining goals for their members, but every pilot group’s profile shows how they’re supported by ALPA’s collective resources.

We begin 2018 with a remarkable record in contract negotiations. ALPA pilots at Hawaiian Airlines, Mesa Airlines, and Endeavor Air all signed new agreements with significant gains. We also see promising developments for Spirit pilots. In addition, many ALPA pilot groups have also made encouraging headway apart from the formal bargaining process, including CommutAir, Delta Air Lines, ExpressJet, FedEx Express, United Airlines, and Wasaya Airways.

Pilots who are not yet members of ALPA are noticing our collective accomplishment and becoming part of our movement. Air Georgian, Encore, and WestJet pilots joined our ranks last year, and we expect to welcome more airline pilots to ALPA this year.

Our members’ respected profile as safety advocates means we’ll never fail to take a firm line against any effort to change the FAA’s first officer qualification and training requirements. Our “Trained for Life” public-awareness campaign has reinforced ALPA pilots’ support for these life-saving rules, which have played an essential role in preventing even a single airline passenger fatality on a U.S. commercial aircraft since 2010.

By driving an effort that sent more than 40,000 letters and e-mails to Congress in 2017, our union defended these critical safety regulations against special-interest groups—but we know that this fight is far from over. This year, the Trained for Life campaign will remind still more passengers, cargo shippers, and industry influencers of airline pilots’ commitment to lifelong training.

While our union’s dedication to safety is beyond question, so is our decades-long pledge to inspire the next generation of aviators. ALPA pilots are fully committed to doing what it takes to keep the pilot pipeline strong and our skies safe. We know that an essential part of the equation for a strong, qualified pilot workforce in the future is airlines’ offering competitive pay, benefits, career progression, and work-life balance.

In 2017, we engaged with aviation students at five new colleges and universities. ALPA’s Education Committee made certain ALPA had a solid presence at events such as AirVenture Oshkosh, the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals Annual Convention and Career Expo, and the International Women in Aviation Conference. We also connected with more than 12,000 grade school and more than 1,300 college students. This year, our plans will build on this success to reach new audiences, including promoting clearedtodream.org and our industry coalition website, aviationworks4u.org.

These and many other accomplishments result from ALPA members’ proud and consistent profile in the halls of Congress and Parliament, in the offices of regulators, at the bargaining table, and in classrooms. Whether it’s during a PA announcement on our last leg of a trip, on a lanyard worn over our uniform while informational picketing, or in a tweet to lawmakers supporting #TrainedforLife, ALPA members lay it on the line to achieve our collective goals.