ALPA Executive Board Opens with National Officer Reports

ALPA’s four national officers, executive vice presidents, and MEC chairmen assembled for the Air Line Pilots Association International’s 110th regular Executive Board meeting today to conduct the business of the union and prepare for its Board of Directors meeting this October. Today’s meeting, which is being held near the Association’s Herndon, Va., offices, opened with reports from ALPA’s four senior officers.

“At the fall Executive Board, I spoke about Steve Jobs,” said ALPA president Capt. Lee Moak. “Jobs’s work changed the way we live, what we can do, and how we relate to each other. That, of course, is the fundamental objective of our union.”

Moak talked about strategic imperatives for the Association, including the reality that “what the government does, counts.” He used the timely example of Kenyan Airways’ plans to purchase Boeing 787 “Dreamliners,” announced in newspapers this morning, to highlight how some foreign airlines are able to secure financing for aircraft at below-market rates. This access places ALPA members and their airlines at a distinct disadvantage. “We have to have a level playing field or, a few short years from now, we won’t be flying long-haul international,” he added.

The ALPA president also talked about the state of the union, its many strengths, and the challenges it faces. He noted that the Association is currently confronting numerous bankruptcies, mergers, and contract negotiations with the help of a professional staff that is both enthusiastic and energetic.

ALPA first vice president Capt. Sean Cassidy provided an extensive report on the overhauling and recent work of the union’s safety structure. “Our leadership structure has allowed us to break down the silos of the separate committees to focus on strategic planning for the overall Air Safety Organization,” he said, highlighting the group’s improved ability to collaborate and share information.

Cassidy talked about the ALPA Air Safety Forum, scheduled for August, and the Air Cargo Symposium scheduled later this month. “ALPA has been extremely vocal about the fact that we will not truly have one level of safety in the airline business unless everybody, regardless of what sits behind the flight-deck door, is treated equally. Whether it’s carrying lithium batteries or the inequities of the flight-time/duty-time rules, or gaps in the security rules, we want to make sure that those issues stay in the bright spotlight, and this is the way we do it,” he said.

Capt. Bill Couette, ALPA’s vice president–administration, discussed plans for the upcoming Board of Directors meeting, the work of ALPA’s Education and Information Technology Advisory Committees, and the Association’s recent Leadership Training Conference for newly elected council officers. “The theme of this year’s Leadership event was ‘Taking Ownership.’ I want these new reps to understand that this Association is theirs. It lives and dies by the time and effort they put into it, and the decisions they make,” he added.

“This is my first report to you since we began implementing the new policies and procedures that the Executive Board and the Board of Directors approved last year,” said Capt. Randy Helling, ALPA’s vice president-finance. “I am happy to report that the results are pointing to some positive trends in ALPA’s financial well-being.” Helling provided an overview of the Association’s accounts, comparing them to figures from recent years and emphasizing that “thanks to your support, and your conscientious stewardship of our members’ hard-earned dues dollars, your union is well positioned to successfully face these challenges head on.”

The Executive Board members also visited the NTSB’s Training Academy, heard a presentation from the ALPA Government Affairs Department, shared news and information about their respective pilot groups, and discussed strategic planning and other concerns in delegate committees. The meeting continues through tomorrow.