Release #: 21.13
March 02, 2021

ALPA to Congress: Pilots, Frontline Aviation Workers Key to Economic Recovery

McLEAN, Va.—Testifying before the Aviation Subcommittee of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Capt. Joe DePete, president of the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), reiterated the importance of pilots and other frontline aviation workers to the nation’s economic recovery, and highlighted the critical role played by the Payroll Support Program (PSP) to save jobs and position the aviation to weather the current storm.

“Since the pandemic began, airline pilots have been on the front lines in the fight against COVID-19. We’ve kept supply chains flowing and the global economy connected. We’ve transported medical personnel, PPE, and life-saving vaccines. And we’ve worked to ensure that aviation can fulfill its critical role in the nation’s economic recovery once the public health crisis is behind us.”

Joining other officials from the U.S. Government Accountability Office, Airlines for America, General Aviation Manufacturers Association, American Association of Airport Executives, and the National Business Aviation Association, Capt. DePete detailed ALPA’s frontline efforts in the fight against the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis as well additional measures needed to safeguard the future of aviation. Capt. DePete also underscored the importance of reforming the broken Chapter 11 bankruptcy process to protect collective bargaining agreements, as airlines could seek reorganization.

“Keeping a strong U.S. pilot workforce is critical to the recovery. However, putting furloughed pilots back on the flight deck isn’t as simple as flipping a switch. Airline pilots are subject to training requirements and medical certifications that take time to requalify. While the PSP has been a historic success, our industry remains in a precarious position. Many ALPA members and other aviation workers have received notices of furlough as soon as March 31.”

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the largest airline pilot union in the world and represents over 59,000 pilots at 35 U.S. and Canadian airlines. Visit the ALPA website at or follow us on Twitter @ALPAPilots.


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