ALPA Reps Give Senate Insights into Remote Ops

Capt. Dan Adamus, ALPA’s Canada Board president, and Capt. Peter Black, chairman of ALPA’s President’s Committee for Remote Operations (PCRO), today appeared before Canada’s Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications to brief the committee on the challenges airline pilots face when flying in remote areas, ways to enhance the safety of these types of operations, and improve service to those remote communities.

The Senate committee has recently focused on issues concerning operations in northern and similarly remote areas as part of its ongoing study on emerging issues related to the Canadian airline industry, and ALPA was invited to share the Association’s insights and provide technical expertise on these issues.

“As air traffic in this region is bound to see a steady increase, it becomes ever more challenging to ensure the same high level of safety that airline operations must have,” Adamus said, in recognizing that the North is of growing interest to a broad range of industry stakeholders.

In his remarks, Adamus outlined several areas of interest identified by ALPA to ensure “one level of safety” as northern operations expand in the coming years. “ALPA has been in the vanguard of aviation safety for many years and we are convinced that the current, thorough certification processes of NAV CANADA, joined with those of Transport Canada, need to continue to safely develop critical air navigation, communication, and airport infrastructure now and in the future to safely serve the communities above the 60th parallel and other remote regions” he said.

Adamus and Black stressed the benefits of the latest generation of GPS-based procedures, which provide flight crews with information that allows them to conduct a constant, stabilized descent to the runway. They emphasized that for this technology to be really effective in improving services to a community, airport infrastructures need to be upgraded concurrently, which requires considerable funding.

They urged increased financial support from the federal government through such programs as the Airports Capital Assistance Program (ACAP). ALPA believes that the eligibility criteria for the program should be expanded to include airport surveys needed to support better instrument approach capabilities, and the amount of available funding should be increased significantly in view of the extra costs associated with construction and survey work in the North.

ALPA will continue to provide its technical expertise and pilot perspectives to the Senate committee as it continues its review.