Source: ALPA

As Congress continues work on the reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which is now on its third short-term extension that expires on May 10, the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA) urged caution in making arbitrary changes to the safest aviation system in the world. ALPA pointed to newly released FAA pilot-production data showing that the United States continues to certificate more airline pilots each month than in the years prior to COVID-19—more than 11,000 in the last 12 months alone. This comes as financial analysts are reporting that “demand is fulfilled,” there is “a surplus of airline pilots,” and several U.S. airlines have scaled back pilot hiring.

“Now is not the time to introduce uncertainty into the safest aviation system in the world as pilot production continues at a record pace and hiring is slowing down,” said Capt. Jason Ambrosi, ALPA president. However, it is long past time for Congress to give the FAA the funding and policy direction it needs, without compromising safety or making arbitrary changes to our nation’s aviation regulations.”

Despite continued data to the contrary, corporate special interests continue to push the narrative that the United States lacks enough pilots. ALPA has long maintained that while there were some pilot training backlogs coming out of COVID, the system is working and still producing record numbers of pilots. Passenger demand continues to be strong, and while mainline airline hiring has stabilized, resulting in a reduction of new pilots being hired, flight schools continue to have record enrollment.

“The system is working as intended, we’re producing more than enough pilots, and we’re experiencing the safest period in U.S. aviation history, thanks in large part to the highly trained pilots on every flight. However, all stakeholders have an obligation to remain vigilant and play an active role in the operations of the most complex aviation system on the planet.”