Release #: 21.28
May 07, 2021

ALPA Criticizes Cargojet, Unifor over Attempts to Weaken Aviation Safety Regulations

McLEAN, Va.—The Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA) sent a strong message today to the management of Cargojet and the union representing its pilots, Unifor, urging them to halt any efforts to weaken the newly developed Canadian flight, duty, and air safety requirements.

In letters today to Cargojet CEO Ajay Virmani and Unifor’s National President Jerry Dias, ALPA expressed concern over recent efforts to weaken the airline flight- and duty-time regulations, which have been one of the most important aviation safety issues for flight crews in Canada.

“I am writing to express my dismay over what I understand is your support of a management-led effort to weaken hard-fought rest and safety rules designed to keep the skies—and our pilots—safe,” wrote Capt. Joe DePete, ALPA president, to Dias. “With four months of operating experience, we can say that our members have reported that these science-based rules, while not perfect, represent a significant improvement over the previous set of regulations in Canada. Any exemption, waiver, or weakening of them would undermine safety and be a slap in the face to those who fought so hard to have them enacted in the first place.”

For many years, Canada’s flight- and duty-time regulations had been acknowledged by aviation industry experts as inadequate for ensuring that pilots are well-rested when they fly. In 2018, after years of advocacy from industry stakeholders including ALPA, the Air Canada Pilots Association, and Unifor, Transport Canada announced updated regulations based on a staggered implementation timeline. Recently, ALPA learned that not only is Cargojet seeking exemptions to these newly implemented requirements, but also engaging in intimidating tactics to influence pilot support of this ill-advised plan.

“I am deeply troubled that Cargojet may be using the threat of layoffs and downgrades to convince pilots to support this plan that would weaken safety and put pilots at risk, this coming at a time when your airline has reported significant profits. The regulations in place today are the culmination of years of work and collaboration among all stakeholders in our industry,” said DePete to Virmani.  

It continues to be ALPA’s firm view that no 705 airline operators should be granted any fatigue exemption outside of already existing provisions. Capt. DePete requested Cargojet and Unifor to end efforts supporting exemptions immediately.

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.


CONTACT: ALPA Media, 703-481-4440 or