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April 1, 2014 FacebookTwitterFlickrYouTubeRSS FeedsLinkedInBlog

In This Issue:

Breaking News:
Pilot Health & Medical Certification—Aviation Safety Starts Here
Global Realities Require Local Action
FFDO Stakeholders Meet in Memphis
Pilot Group News:
CommutAir Pilots Raise the Bar for Regionals
American Eagle Pilots Reject Concessionary Contract
National News:
Known Crewmember Program Reaches Milestone
FAA Implementing New Climb Via, Speed Adjustment Phraseology
News on the Net


Pilot Health & Medical Certification—Aviation Safety Starts Here

Today, the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA) brought together aeromedical leadership from the United States and Canada to discuss the current state of pilot health and medical certification issues that have critical implications for commercial aviation. Supporting the conference was the Aerospace Medical Association (AsMA).

The symposium, “Pilot Health and Medical Certification—Aviation Safety Starts Here,” was the first ever ALPA-sponsored aviation medical symposium that specifically discussed Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Transport Canada policy issues and potential changes to aeromedical guidelines and criteria used to medically certify pilots. It featured a direct dialog and debate with the new FAA federal air surgeon and Transport Canada’s chief medical officer.

Read more about the Pilot Health & Medical Certification Symposium.

Keynote Speaker Capt. Don Marcus
addresses the audience at the 2014 GPS.
View additional photos from the symposium.
Global Realities Require Local Action

Hundreds of pilots from around the world convened last week at the 4th annual Global Pilots’ Symposium not just to discuss the common challenges of all airline pilots, but also to develop a plan of action and commit to executing on that plan.

Their urgent, collective resolve was underscored by keynote speaker Capt. Don Marcus, international president of the International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots, who retold the harrowing tale of the decimation of the U.S. maritime industry due to the “flag of convenience” system. During his presentation, “The Impact of Open International Competition on U.S. Maritime Labor,” Marcus relayed staggering statistics as a harbinger of what could happen to the global airline system.

Read more about the 2014 Global Pilots’ Symposium.

FFDO Stakeholders Meet in Memphis

The ALPA Security team hosted the Federal Flight Deck Officer (FFDO) stakeholder meeting in Memphis last week at the FedEx MEC offices. Many stakeholders, including other unions and airlines, were present. The ALPA Security team had productive discussions and participation with the Federal Air Marshal Service (FAMS), which administers the FFDO program—FAMS is doing everything possible to support the FFDO mission.

The proposed White House budget for 2015 recommends that annual FFDO funding be reduced by $4.9 million. This is completely unsatisfactory—especially in light of the fact that the FFDO program is arguably the most cost-effective aviation security program in operation today. The ALPA Security team, supported by the ALPA Government Affairs group, will again take up the challenge and work with our legislators to restore FFDO funding back to the original $25 million.

Read more about the FFDO stakeholder meeting.

CommutAir Pilots Raise the Bar for Regionals

Proving that a small group of committed pilots can raise standards across an industry, aviators at CommutAir have ratified new pay raises and other improvements to help their airline attract and retain qualified pilots. By an 87 percent margin, CommutAir pilots approved a package of midcontract improvements that will help set the table for further advancements when they return for full Section 6 negotiations next year.

The new letter of agreement at CommutAir, among the lowest-paying regionals at ALPA, will raise pay from 12 percent to as much as 24 percent depending on longevity. Equally important, the deal greatly improves the quality of life for commuters with its parking reimbursements, new deadhead language, and up to four company-paid hotel nights per month for commuters to use before beginning a trip.

“As a pilot group, we have spoken. We’ve told the company we will only make positive changes to attract and retain pilots, and will not take concessions,” said CommutAir MEC chairman Capt. John Bassett.

American Eagle Pilots Reject Concessionary Contract

American Eagle pilots expressed their collective will and rejected a concessionary contract proposed by American Airlines Group (AAG). With 92 percent of the eligible pilots casting their ballots, 70 percent voted against ratification of the contract.

“The Eagle pilots made a clear choice and it was not an easy one,” said Capt. Bill Sprague, Eagle MEC chairman. “Despite threats from AAG management that they would seek other express carriers to conduct our flying, this vote demonstrates that the demands for contract concessions were not acceptable. This vote clearly shows that pilots can, and will, vote against any agreement that is not in their best interests.”

Read more about the proposed EGL pilot contract.

Known Crewmember Program Reaches Milestone with Launch of 40th Facility

The Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), Airlines for America (A4A), and the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) this week announced the expansion of the Known Crewmember (KCM) program to include General Mitchell International Airport (MKE). The new facility joins the KCM program as its 40th location. KCM is a risk-based security screening program that enables Transportation Security Administration (TSA) security officers to positively verify the identity and employment status of crewmembers.

KCM facilities are dedicated security screening lanes for use by prescreened airline personnel that allow passengers in separate lines to move through TSA checkpoints with less delay. Testing of risk-based screening for flight crews began in 2008 and was approved by the TSA for expansion in 2009. As a result of ALPA’s successful partnerships with A4A and the TSA, KCM has evolved into a robust nationwide program, having screened over 15 million transits to date.

Read more about the KCM program.

FAA Implementing New Climb Via, Speed Adjustment Phraseology

On April 3, 2014, the FAA will implement “CLIMB VIA” phraseology and procedures for standard instrument departures (SIDs). “CLIMB VIA” is an ATC clearance authorizing pilots to navigate a SID vertically and laterally while complying with all published restrictions. It is consistent with existing “DESCEND VIA” phraseology and procedures for standard terminal arrival routes (STARs), which have been in use for more than a decade.

In addition to the new “CLIMB VIA” phraseology, the FAA will implement new speed restrictions and speed adjustments phraseology. To help pilots better distinguish when compliance with speed restrictions is required and when speed is at the pilot’s discretion, new phraseology has been developed that will apply in all situations, including conventional and RNAV SIDs and STARS. ALPA issued Operations Bulletin 2014-01 to provide crews with information on the new phraseology. Read the bulletin.

News on the Net

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