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Sat, May 18, 2024

ALPA Warns of Single-Pilot Push Around the World

Cost-Cutting Managers and Tech-Focused Manufacturers May Herald End of Two-Person Cockpit

With the FAA's legislative life secure, industry lobbyists have moved on to the next battle, ensuring that flight decks across the country and around the world don't have empty seats in the interest of 'efficiency'.

The Air Line Pilot Association International joined hands with the AFL-CIO's Transportation Trades Department to call on US Regulators to "aggressively advocate for at least two pilots on every flight deck here at home and in international forums." During a conference with the AFL-CIO's TTD Executive Committee, the response was unanimous in opposing efforts to reduce the required number of crew on the flight deck of commercial airliners.

With the recent hiring boom fresh in mind, and more than a few very expensive pilot contracts, it's not too surprising that some carriers are hoping they can cut staffing costs across the board. Manufacturers won't be too opposed to the idea either, since single-pilot air carrier ops are a great way to render older, paid-for fleets obsolete. Airbus chief Christian Scherer has long been an advocate of slashing minimum crew sizes, believing that aircraft have evolved to the point of safe single-pilot operations for years now - and sometimes hinting that we're almost to the point of getting rid of them, too.

"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.

"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.

FMI: www.alpa.org

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