WASHINGTON — Greg Regan and Shari Semelsberger, President and Secretary-Treasurer of the AFL-CIO Transportation Trades Department (TTD), released this statement as the House Aviation Subcommittee holds a hearing on “FAA Reauthorization: Examining the Current and Future Challenges Facing the Aerospace Workforce“:
“Today, the nation’s largest transportation labor federation, representing 37 unions and millions of workers across aviation and other transport industries, reaffirms our support for the United States’ current pilot training and First Officer Qualification Rules, including the 1500 hour rule, and oppose moving from experiential or real flying time to simulator-based training.
“Some stakeholders in the aviation industry are using the specter of a fictitious pilot shortage in an attempt to weaken U.S. pilot training standards. To be clear: there is no shortage of pilots. According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) data released today, pilot production remains strong. It is imperative that Congress put the safety of passengers and aviation workers first and reject any calls to weaken these standards.
“Following the fatal Colgan Air crash in 2009, Congress unanimously passed the Airline Safety and FAA Extension Act in 2010, which mandated new pilot experience, training, and qualification requirements. Now, special interests in Washington are seeking to weaken these safety requirements so they can hire less qualified aviators for lower pay and benefits.
“The current pilot training and qualification requirements have led to a 99.8 percent reduction in airline passenger fatalities since their enactment in 2010. In the two preceding decades there were more than 1,100 passenger fatalities.
“The United States is the gold standard for aviation safety. We cannot afford to go backwards on safety and endanger the lives of the flying public.”