CONTACT: Capt. Dennis Tajer, 847-902-8481/Gregg Overman, 817-302-2250

“Compromising on Safety is Never an Option”

FORT WORTH, Texas (July 18, 2023) – Three unions – the Allied Pilots Association (APA) representing the 15,000 pilots of American Airlines, the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA) representing 74,000 pilots at 42 U.S. and Canadian carriers, and the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association (SWAPA) representing the 10,000 pilots of Southwest Airlines – are voicing “serious concerns” regarding two pending issues in the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill.

One proposal in the bill seeks to relax the minimum experience requirements to serve as a professional airline pilot, and the other would raise the mandatory retirement age for pilots.

The unions summarized their concerns in a letter sent today to the White House, Congress, and the Department of Transportation. Excerpts from the letter:

  • “Policymakers established the current pilot experience requirements in the wake of a series of fatal accidents in which the National Transportation Safety Board cited the adequacy of flight crew training and qualifications as contributing factors. Today’s requirements are the product of the collaborative efforts of the FAA and a cross-section of aviation industry subject-matter experts that have served the airline industry and the traveling public well for more than a decade and should not be relaxed.”
  • “Similarly, the current age 65 mandatory retirement age for commercial airline pilots is supported by data and conforms with International Civil Aviation Organization standards. Those advocating for raising the retirement age have not produced sufficient data relating to the safety implications of such a change. Last week, Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg voiced his department’s opposition to raising the retirement age for just this reason. “We don’t think this is the time to change that, and I would want to see a lot more data before we could feel comfortable with any kind of change to that,” he said. The Office of Management and Budget echoed those concerns in its July 17 Statement of Administration Policy regarding the FAA bill, noting that “making this change without doing research and establishing any necessary policies would be outside the international standard.”
  • “Safety is our primary focus in everything we do as pilots and compromising on safety is never an option. We ask our elected representatives to support our pilots, and the public, by embracing this same philosophy.”

The letter is signed by Capt. Ed Sicher, APA President; Capt. Jason Ambrosi, ALPA President; and Capt. Casey Murray, SWAPA President.

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

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the largest airline pilot union in the world and represents more than 74,000 pilots at 42 U.S. and Canadian airlines. Visit or follow ALPA on Twitter: @ALPAPilots.

Located in Dallas, Texas, the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association (SWAPA) is a non-profit employee organization representing the more than 10,000 pilots of Southwest Airlines. SWAPA works to provide a secure and rewarding career for Southwest pilots and their families through negotiating contracts, defending contractual rights, and actively promoting professionalism and safety. For more information on the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association, visit