The Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA) released the following statement yesterday in response to comments made by Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood that furloughing front-line aviation safety professionals will begin this Sunday as part of sequestration.
“Sweeping furloughs that include front-line safety personnel will have an extremely negative impact on the aviation industry, our airlines, our members, and passengers. While pilots and controllers will continue to ensure a safe environment, the resulting delays and cancellations will translate into a significant financial toll on our airlines and their workers. At a time when our airlines are already struggling to be profitable, it is imperative that action be taken to address this issue as soon as possible.
“These furloughs will have a very real impact on all of us at every level. For the airlines, it means significant cuts in capacity and major financial losses. For pilots, it could span from challenges getting to work to losing their jobs. For passengers, it could mean a lot of time waiting in airports and not making it to their destinations on time.
“We need to work together—Congress, the administration, industry, and labor—to protect the operational integrity of the safest system in the world, or we will be forced to deal with the fiscal realities of these decisions. Furloughing essential personnel like air traffic controllers should be avoided at all costs. Senator Roy Blunt’s (R-Mo.) bill, the Essential Services Act (S.724), is one way to provide the FAA with the flexibility to make air traffic controllers essential employees that are not subject to sequestration. ALPA applauds this bill and encourages Congress to pass it.”