Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA) president Capt. Joe DePete issued the following statement after the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued its decision to deny Republic Airways an exemption from federal pilot training qualification and experience requirements for aspiring aviators enrolled in the company’s private flight academy:
“This decision is a huge win for aviation safety and for the flying public. The FAA’s findings confirm what we’ve said all along about Republic’s request––that it is not in the public interest and would adversely affect safety.
“Additionally, in its official petition denial, the FAA affirmed its support for the regulatory requirements that are in place to facilitate the qualification of pilots––the aviation safety law that has reduced aviation fatalities by 99.8 percent since its implementation.
“We opposed with our full weight this exemption request and will do so with any other efforts that seek to evade, undermine, weaken, or repeal first officer qualification, experience, and training requirements. We applaud the FAA for its decision today and urge the Department of Transportation to similarly reject any proposed business models – such as that proposed by Skywest – which could undermine the safety critical impact of the first officer qualifications on travelers, from small communities and large ones alike.
“As we have said, our union stands ready to work with any industry stakeholder on constructive ways to ensure we continue to have a robust and diverse pilot pipeline. However, we will give no ground when it comes to the hard-fought gains that we have made in safety.”
Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilot union, representing more than 65,000 pilots at 40 airlines in the United States and Canada. Visit the ALPA website or follow us on Twitter @ALPAPilots and @ALPACanada.