In today’s highly competitive aviation marketplace, globalization continues to be a driving force. And as pilots, we are on the frontlines of connecting the world. With such vast expansion comes a unique set of challenges for our profession. For this reason, hundreds of pilots from across the globe convened last week for the 5th annual Global Pilots’ Symposium (GPS) to discuss our common challenges and to develop and commit to executing a plan of action.
The GPS is a joint initiative of the International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations (IFALPA), the Associations of Star Alliance Pilots (ASAP), the Oneworld Cockpit Crew Coalition (OCCC), and the SkyTeam Pilots Association. ALPA was instrumental in creating this annual event, which is held in conjunction with the IFALPA conference, in order to enhance our status and collective bargaining efforts at the international level.
On March 24, the world heard about the tragic, fatal crash of Germanwings Flight 4U 9525. Our thoughts and profound sympathies are with all the families and friends of the victims as we all struggle to come to terms with this terrible loss.
As the largest nongovernmental safety organization in the world, we felt an enormous responsibility to offer support and assistance to those affected by the Germanwings accident. Upon hearing of the crash, ALPA immediately contacted the German Cockpit Association (Vereinigung Cockpit) and did just that. In addition, we continue to coordinate and communicate with various government authorities to stay informed and offer our expertise as appropriate.
As if the overwhelming feeling of grief for the passengers and crew has not been heartbreaking enough, unrelenting and tremendously disturbing media reports have led to rampant speculation. It is important to recognize that the conjecture by some in the media has been based on reports that, to date, come from sources other than the formal safety investigation. The information is certainly not complete and may unfortunately lead to premature or false conclusions, which we all know is harmful to a full and accurate investigation.
By Capt. Joe DePete, ALPA’s First Vice President and National Safety Coordinator
As ALPA’s first national officer who comes from an all-cargo carrier, I know from experience the unique challenges faced by pilots who fly freight. As the union’s first vice president and national safety coordinator, I also witness the common commitment to safety, pilot assistance, and security all ALPA pilots share, regardless of what they carry on their aircraft.
Air freight has been part of the North American airline industry since its beginnings. The first cargo flight occurred on November 7, 1910. It took 61 minutes to fly the 70-mile route that traced the railway line between Dayton and Columbus. This cargo flight moved merchandise, but it also gave a leg-up to local business, attracting a crowd of 3,000 people when it landed in Columbus and drawing public attention to a sale at the city’s largest store. Even with its inaugural flight, air freight proved a powerful economic driver.
Like the first passenger operations, all-cargo flying in the early airline industry was fraught with hazard. Ever since I became an ALPA member, I have recognized and respected ALPA’s history of safety advocacy that spans more than 80 years. Our union’s work has been integral to achieving the extraordinary level of safety that is the hallmark of our industry today.
Aviation stakeholders from across the industry met this week in Washington for U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s 14th Annual Aviation Summit. While attendees engaged in robust discussion regarding aviation’s role in the global economy, the CEOs of two Middle Eastern carriers, Etihad Airways and Emirates Airline, were also in D.C., reportedly conducting their own discussions with industry representatives. One of those CEO’s, James Hogan of Etihad, also spoke at the Summit.
Etihad Airways and Emirates Airline, in addition to Qatar Airways, spare no expense—thanks to the financial backing of Qatar and the United Arab Emirates—in trying to convince U.S. officials that their massive subsidies do not distort the international market. But as these state-supported foreign airlines try to convince our government that Open Skies is a win-win-win, I believe their lack of transparency speaks louder than their efforts to explain how their highly subsidized carriers are not in violation of current air transport services agreements – and in effect, results in a lose-lose-lose for the U.S aviation industry.
No one should be fooled by their rhetoric. ALPA recognizes the dangerous reality—the negative domino effect that comes along with hugely state-supported airlines that are growing rapidly and operate without the need to show a profit.
Posted in Fair Skies-Open Skies, SOE
Tagged ALPA, American, Aviation, Delta, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Fair Skies, Jobs, Open Skies, Partnership for Open & Fair Skies, Qatar, UAE, United