April 04, 2017

ALPA Urges Congress to Resist Special Interest Attempts to Weaken Aviation Safety

Dear Senator,

On behalf of the 55,000 members of the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), I am writing to reiterate our commitment to and appreciation for the enactment of landmark aviation safety legislation: the Airline Safety and FAA Extension Act of 2010. When Congress passed this law seven years ago, America took a significant step in advancing aviation safety. Since its passage, our country has not had a single passenger fatality due to an accident on a scheduled U.S. passenger airliner (Part 121).

Prior to this bill’s passage, the United States experienced multiple airline accidents including four high profile fatal airline accidents over a six-year period, including the Colgan Air Flight 3407 accident on February 12, 2009 just outside of Buffalo, New York. These airline accidents, which killed scores of passengers, focused the nation’s attention on how to increase aviation safety. And professionals at the Federal Aviation Administration, the National Transportation Safety Board and the U.S. Congress all responded.

Working with industry, labor, and government, all aviation stakeholders agreed to improve airline pilot training, qualification, and flight experience requirements for new-hire first officers entering our cockpits. Testimony from airline pilots, along with family members who lost loved ones in these fatal accidents, clearly made the case for safer skies. With the unanimous support of Congress, we addressed these issues with the passage of Airline Safety and FAA Extension Act of 2010, which also led to a number of significant aviation safety improvements such as science based flight, duty, and rest rules (Federal Aviation Regulation Part 117) as well as requiring specific training for stall recognition and recovery and flight in adverse weather conditions.

This law significantly improved training and qualification requirements for first officers – and improved the safety of our skies. It is a measure that was written in blood, and should not be weakened in any way, shape or form.

There are special interests in Washington, DC who, for reasons of profit, seek to weaken our air safety regulations. Our 55,000 pilots know they can count on you to stand with them to block any efforts to roll back these critical safety regulations.

As you continue the FAA reauthorization process in the 115th Congress, it is important to remember the extraordinary safety record we achieved because of the unwavering commitment of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee to support aviation safety. The strengthened pilot certification requirements have made our skies safer and helped keep America flying.

We reaffirm our commitment to getting you and each and every traveler safely to your destination every time we step into our cockpits. In fact, our motto is “Schedule with Safety” and we live and breathe that mantra every day when we are flying the line.   We’ll accept no less and look forward to working with you to extend and improve our unprecedented record of aviation safety and to advance critical, lifesaving measures to build an even safer and more efficient 21st Century aviation network.


Capt. Tim Canoll
President, Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l