ALPA to U.S. House Subcommittee: Raise Airline Industry to One Level of Safety

Safe Skies Act of 2012 Would Protect All Airline Pilots from Fatigue

WASHINGTON – In testimony before the U.S. House Aviation Subcommittee today, Capt. Sean Cassidy, first vice president and national safety coordinator of the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), called on Congress to swiftly act to apply new Federal Aviation Administration science-based flight- and duty-time regulations to both passenger and cargo airline pilots.

“All pilots are human, and we experience fatigue in the same way, regardless of whether we are flying passengers or cargo in our aircraft,” Capt. Cassidy told the Subcommittee. “Despite this, the new science-based fatigue regulations apply only to pilots who fly passengers, and not to those who fly cargo. Leaving all-cargo pilots out of the regulations is a serious safety concern.”

In his testimony, Capt. Cassidy thanked Rep. Chip Cravaack (R-MN) and Rep. Tim Bishop (D-NY) for introducing the Safe Skies Act of 2012, which would apply the fatigue rules to all airline operations. “We urge all members of this Committee to cosponsor HR 4350 and to swiftly report out the Safe Skies Act of 2012 to help achieve one level of safety across the industry,” he said.

In addition to underscoring the importance of bringing all-cargo pilots under the new science-based pilot fatigue regulations, Capt. Cassidy highlighted ALPA’s perspective in other areas of aviation safety, including the importance of:

• Ensuring that new regulations on pilot certification include a clear path to follow so currently employed airline pilots can continue to fly and are able to achieve full compliance with requirements that were created after their employment began.
• Making certain that new captains receive command training to reinforce effective communication, leadership, and conflict resolution.
• Formalizing mentoring as a standard part of a pilot’s professional development.
• Advancing Safety Management Systems and encouraging the Federal Aviation Administration to remain on schedule to publish a final Safety Management Systems rule in summer 2012.
• Protecting aviation safety data to ensure that it is used only as intended–to advance safety–and not misused for other purposes.

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilot union, representing more than 53,000 pilots at 37 airlines in the United States and Canada. Visit the ALPA website at www.alpa.org.

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