7 pilot unions combine to remove attempts to eliminate pilots from flight deck

Unions representing the pilots of nearly 50 commercial airlines have joined together to voice their opposition to a dangerous set of provisions that were added to the FAA reauthorization bill passed earlier this year by the US House of Representatives, the unions said.

Unions spoke at the 64th Air Safety Forum hosted by the Air Line Pilots Association, Int´l (ALPA).

Sections 744 and 703(a)(xviii) would authorize a new FAA research and development program in support of single-pilot all-cargo operations utilizing remote-piloting or computer-piloting technology, and ALPA, the Allied Pilots Association (APA), the Coalition of Airline Pilots Associations (CAPA), the Independent Pilots Association (IPA), the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the NetJets Association of Shared Aircraft Pilots (NJASAP), the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association (SWAPA), want Congress to know how reckless passage of a bill with this provision would be.

Pilots are trained to operate an aircraft while interacting with air traffic control; communicating with Dispatch; checking current weather and forecasts; visually scanning for other aircraft; and monitoring engines, fuel, and other systems. In non-routine situations, the workload on the flight deck can increase significantly in a short time period. Addressing these situations requires at least two well-trained, fully qualified pilots to communicate in real time without delay or the potential for a lost connection.

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world´s largest pilot union, representing more than 60,000 pilots at 34 airlines in the United States and Canada.

Headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, APA serves as the certified collective bargaining agent for the 15,000 professional pilots who fly for American Airlines. APA was founded in 1963 and is the largest independent pilots´ union in the world. APA provides a broad range of representation services for its members and devotes more than 20 percent of its dues income to support aviation safety.

CAPA is a trade association representing more than 30,000 professional passenger and all-cargo pilots at carriers including American Airlines, UPS Airlines, ABX Air, Horizon Airlines, Southern Air, Silver Airways, Allegiant Air, Miami Air, Cape Air, Omni Air, Atlas Air, and Republic Airline.

Independent Pilots Association is the collective bargaining unit representing the more than 2,500 professional pilots who fly for United Parcel Service, the world´s largest transportation company. The IPA is headquartered in Louisville, Ky.

International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million men and women, including 90,000 members in aviation, throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.

NetJets Association of Shared Aircraft Pilots, founded in 2008 as an independent labor advocate, represents the professional interests of the 2,700-plus pilots who fly in the service of NetJets Aviation Inc.

Southwest Airlines Pilots Association is a nonprofit employee organization and the sole bargaining unit for the more than 9,400 pilots of Southwest Airlines.