ALPA Provides Expert Perspective on Airline Industry at Media Briefing
Reporters from several top news organizations were in attendance

ALPA president Capt. Lee Moak and first vice president Capt. Sean Cassidy covered a host of leading aviation issues at a media briefing this morning in Washington, D.C.

Moak provided an overview of the progress the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l has made in the last year both at the negotiating table and in the legislative and regulatory arenas. A variety of topics were covered including the impact sequestration could have on the airline industry, achieving one level of safety for all pilots, and the truth about the supposed pilot shortage in North America.

“The impact of sequestration will weigh heavily on ALPA members, and I urge Congress to move swiftly to avoid the damage of sequestration on our air traffic system and our broader economy,” said Moak. He added that while sequestration will not compromise safety, its main impact would be on capacity, which would reduce the number of flights, cause delays, and drive up ticket prices. Cassidy agreed that safety will need to be maintained regardless of sequestration but that it could set back progress in NextGen development.

Several safety issues were at the forefront of today’s briefing. Moak and Cassidy took the opportunity to discuss ALPA’s top priority to apply new science-based pilot flight, duty, and rest regulations to all-cargo pilots, a key element to achieving one level of safety across the industry. Moak said that pilots get fatigued in the same way regardless of whether they are flying cargo or passenger aircraft. Moak is confident that the Association will prevail in achieving one level of safety for all pilots.

Moak and Cassidy also discussed the need to develop standards outlining the proper carriage of lithium batteries as cargo on board aircraft. Moak highlighted the great work recently accomplished by the FAA at ICAO, which eliminated the ability to carry lithium batteries as cargo on international passenger aircraft and stressed the need to bring those same standards to the United States for domestic operations.

The Association’s perspective on the integration of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS, increasingly referred to as remotely piloted aircraft) operating in North American airspace was also discussed. Moak and Cassidy said UAS/RPA implementation cannot be expedited at the expense of safety.

Moak also explained the truth about a pilot shortage, or lack thereof. He said while we do not currently have a pilot shortage issue in North America, we do have a pay shortage issue. He said it’s crucial that pilots are paid commensurate with their education, training, and experience or more pilots will look to overseas airlines for work, which could cause a pilot shortage in North America in the long term.

Several news organizations were in attendance at today’s briefing, including ABC News, Air Transport World, Associated Press, Aviation Week, CNN, Politico, USA Today, and others.