Airline safety shouldn’t wait for tragedy

We shouldn’t have to wait for a tragic accident to adopt new policies that we know will improve the safety of commercial aviation for all users.  At ALPA, aviation safety has always been at the core of our mission – and ALPA’s leadership throughout the years has led to the adoption of everything from air traffic control centers to collision avoidance systems to reinforced cockpit doors and other anti-terrorism measures.

Today, one of the most important unresolved safety issues remains the exclusion of cargo pilots from new science-based pilot fatigue rules adopted by the FAA late last year.  The FAA has acknowledged that cargo pilots were excluded from the rule only because an economic analysis placed a lower dollar figure on the lives of a cargo pilot crew than the amount of money it would cost a cargo shipping company to ensure the safest possible operations.  However, that analysis ignores the fact that cargo pilots share the same airports and airspace as passenger planes – and a cargo accident due to fatigue would threaten all passenger flights and communities in the flight path.

As the leader in aviation safety for the past 80 years, ALPA is fighting to include cargo pilots in the new fatigue rules because fatigue affects all pilots the same way and uniform standards will make the system safer for everyone who flies.  So far, many Members of Congress have agreed and legislation has been introduced in the House and Senate to fix this oversight.  ALPA pilots currently operate in the largest and safest aviation system in the world, but we must implement proactive safety policies that are based on compelling science and common sense to help keep it that way.

Fatal Air Crash Decline Presents Safety Challenge

WASHINGTON (AP) — It’s been 43 months since the last deadly airline crash in the United States, the longest period without a fatal domestic accident since commercial aviation expanded after World War II. That sounds like unvarnished good news, but one consequence of having such a remarkable record is that it’s difficult to justify imposing costly new safety rules on the economically fragile industry.

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