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Allied Pilots Association: “Weakening First Officer Qualification Standards Would Be a Grave Mistake”

FORT WORTH, Texas (Feb. 27, 2018) – Following today’s Subcommittee on Aviation hearing on “The State of Aviation Safety,” the Allied Pilots Association affirmed its support for maintaining current standards for first officer qualifications.

“Subcommittee on Aviation Chairman Congressman Frank LoBiondo (NJ-2) is absolutely correct — aviation safety is not a destination. Instead, it’s a process of continuous improvement involving evaluation, analysis, and course-correction,” said APA President Capt. Daniel F. Carey. “After the tragic accident involving Colgan Air Flight 3407 in 2009, Congress made an important course-correction by approving the Airline Safety and Federal Aviation Administration Act of 2010. The FAA then followed suit by enacting new regulations to establish minimum first officer training and qualification requirements.”

Carey noted that APA representatives were on hand for today’s hearing on Capitol Hill and voiced support for the testimony of fellow union leader Capt. Tim Canoll, Air Line Pilots Association President.

“Capt. Canoll rightly emphasized that the most critical safety feature of any airline operation is a well-trained, fully qualified, highly experienced, and adequately rested professional flight crew. Accordingly, APA likewise urges policymakers to preserve current first officer qualification requirements. It’s the responsibility of all aviation industry stakeholders — including Congress, airline management, and front-line employees — to do all we can to prevent another tragedy like Colgan Air Flight 3407. Weakening first officer qualification standards would be a grave mistake.”

Founded in 1963, the Allied Pilots Association — the largest independent pilots union in the United States — is headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas. APA represents the 15,000 pilots of American Airlines, including several hundred pilots on full-time military leave of absence serving in the armed forces. The union’s website is AlliedPilots.org. American Airlines is the world’s largest passenger airline.

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