June 14, 2022
Faye Malarkey Black
President and CEO Regional Airline Association
1201 15th Street NW, Suite 430
Washington, DC 20005
I am writing to urge you to turn your attention away from lobbying to weaken critically important, lifesaving pilot training and experience rules and, instead, focus on helping your member airlines attract and retain the best and brightest aviators. The recent deals ALPA helped negotiate with two of your members—Envoy and Piedmont— offer a great starting point to seriously address the pilot supply challenges you say your members face.
Contrast that approach with the one pursued by Republic Air, another of your member airlines. Rather than address the pay, career progression, and work-rule issues faced by many regional pilots, Republic has asked the federal government for permission to cut safety training requirements in half as a way to attract and retain pilots, rather than addressing the underlying economic deficiencies of how the airline treats its workers.
It is particularly hypocritical that RAA affiliates squandered the opportunity to ready their operations and training programs for the post-pandemic surge in travel. After receiving billions in government subsidies to retain staff and prepare for recovery, they are again asking the government for relief—this time from the same rules that have made the United States the safest aviation system in the world. It was clear that, once we solved the public-health crisis, air travel would rebound, and passenger demand would return. The taxpayer support provided to airlines was predicated on this assumption, some airlines prepared for the recovery better than others. Some bet on a strong American recovery; others bet against it. For ALPA, there was never any doubt whether we’d come out of the pandemic strong, and my pilots are more than ready to meet this moment.
I respectfully urge you to reject this dangerous flight path and instead place your time, energy, and efforts into urging your members to come to the bargaining table ready to negotiate contracts that provide pilots with competitive compensation packages, career progression enhancements, and strengthened work rules. This approach is not only good business, but it will ensure the safety of our system—something we should all rally behind.
Joseph G. DePete