Release #: 22.16
June 07, 2022

ALPA Releases Data Showing Nearly 8,000 New Pilots Produced in Past 12 Months

Production Exceeds Pre-Pandemic Levels as Pilots Lobby Lawmakers to Maintain Safety

Washington, D.C.—Armed with current data demonstrating that the United States is producing more pilots than it did pre-COVID, leaders from the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA) are fanning out across Capitol Hill this week to meet with federal lawmakers to reiterate that the current first officer qualification standards have been a critical component in our nation’s impressive airline safety record. In conjunction with ALPA’s annual Legislative Summit, pilot leaders are sharing with elected officials and their staff that, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), nearly 8,000 newly certificated pilots have been produced in the last 12 months, well exceeding recent years.

“The United States is producing a record number of pilots, yet some are still trying to claim we need to weaken aviation safety rules to fix a problem that doesn’t exist. That’s why it’s so important we have frontline aviation safety experts—our pilots—on Capitol Hill this week to make sure decision-makers know the facts, and what’s at stake,” said ALPA president Capt. Joe DePete. “Airline pilots offer a unique perspective that literally no one else can, and I’m proud our members are here in Washington, D.C., this week sharing that expertise in order to protect the world’s safest air transport system.”

Some airlines are trying to distract from their profit-first business decisions to cut service with the fictitious claim that there is a lack of available pilots. Instead of focusing on changes to fundamental issues associated with their profit-driven business models, they are suggesting that a solution would be to weaken the qualification and safety regulations that have led to the U.S. airline industry’s current exemplary safety record. According to National Transportation Safety Board data, since the passage of the Airline Safety and FAA Extension Act of 2010, Part 121 passenger airline fatalities have decreased by 99.8 percent.

“The numbers don’t lie and according to the most recent FAA data, the United States is producing more pilots today than we did pre-pandemic. So let’s stop the double speak and call this for what it is: a blatant attempt to weaken first officer qualification requirements—despite the fact that the United States has more than enough qualified pilots now,” added DePete.

Over the past decade, the United States has produced more than enough certificated pilots to meet airline hiring demands and compensate for retirements, even as new and more rigorous pilot training standards were enacted to enhance safety. In fact, there are currently about 1.5 certificated pilots relative to demand, according to Federal Aviation Administration and Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

“Distorting the facts about pilot availability is bad enough. But distorting the truth and then attempting to roll back the safety regulations that have reduced airline passenger fatalities by 99.8 percent since they were enacted is reprehensible. And that’s exactly what some airlines and their lobbyists are doing here in Washington,” said DePete.

The attempt to divert the country’s attention away from their profit-based business decisions to cancel flights and cut air service to rural and smaller communities is bad enough, but even worse, airline representatives are pushing to weaken requirements that ensure pilots are qualified and trained to keep passengers safe.

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilot union, representing more than 64,000 pilots at 39 airlines in the United States and Canada. Visit the ALPA website at or follow us on Twitter @ALPAPilots and @ALPACanada.


CONTACT: ALPA Media, 703-481-4440 or