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Allied Pilots Association: “1,500-Hour Rule Must Be Preserved for Safety’s Sake”
FORT WORTH, Texas (May 17, 2022) – The Allied Pilots Association (APA), representing the 14,000 pilots of American Airlines, emphasized the need to maintain the requirement that pilots have a minimum of 1,500 hours of flight time before being eligible for hiring by a Part 121 passenger airline in the United States.
“Anyone who doubts the value of the 1,500-hour rule should be reminded of its dramatically positive impact on the safety record of U.S. airlines,” said APA President Capt. Eric Ferguson. “The period preceding the rule was marked by a series of fatal accidents. Since the rule took effect, major U.S. carriers have experienced a total of one in-flight fatality. The 1,500-hour rule must be preserved for safety’s sake.”
The more stringent hiring requirement was part of the Airline Safety and Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act of 2010 and took effect in 2013. Regional carrier Republic Airways has applied for an exemption from the rule, asserting that participants in its training program should receive the same credit toward an Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) license as pilots who have undergone military flight training.
“Proponents of relaxing the rule characterize it as a way to increase the supply of available pilots,” Ferguson said. ”Just as it would be a bad idea to dilute doctors’ qualification requirements in an effort to increase the supply of practicing physicians, it’s equally ill-advised in a safety-sensitive occupation like our own.
“Regardless of Republic Airways’ claims that its training program would provide an equivalent level of preparation, it cannot realistically compare to the training that U.S. military aviators undergo,” he said. “There is no substitute for real-world experience, and it’s foolish to claim otherwise.”
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 14,000 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.