Transportation Unions Oppose Corporate Push to Remove Pilots from Flight Deck

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WASHINGTON—This week, as aviation safety stakeholders celebrated the passage of the pro-safety FAA Reauthorization Act of 2024, the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), in collaboration with the Transportation Trades Department (TTD) of the AFL-CIO, called on U.S. regulators and lawmakers to aggressively advocate for at least two pilots on every flight deck here at home and in international forums. During a TTD Executive Committee meeting today, transportation labor unions were unified in opposing efforts to reduce the required number of pilots on the flight deck of commercial airliners.

“Time and time again we’re reminded that the most important safety feature on every flight is the presence of at least two experienced, well-trained, and well-rested pilots on the flight deck at all times. Unfortunately, there is a concerning push by some corporate interests, including at least one aircraft manufacturer, to reduce the number of pilots on the flight deck. And even more outrageous, they have regulators in Europe greasing the skids to make it happen,” said Capt. Jason Ambrosi, ALPA president.

In today’s policy statement, TTD unions called on the Department of Transportation to maintain the minimum pilot staffing levels as required by regulation and for Congress to codify the safety necessity of at least two well-trained and qualified pilots on the flight deck. This action comes on the heels of an Airbus executive conceding that their intention is to ultimately manufacture aircraft that would be flown with no pilots onboard.

“As airline pilots, we embrace technology to assist in the safe operation of our aircraft, but technology is no substitute for the experience and skill of well-trained aviators. We are grateful for the support from our sisters and brothers in labor as we lead a global effort to prevent corporate special interests from putting at risk the lives of passengers and crew members in the pursuit of even greater profits,” added Ambrosi.




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