Allied Pilots Association: New-Hire Pilots Should Have at Least 1,500 Hours of Flight Time

Oct. 18, 2010

"We firmly agree with Senator Schumer--aviation safety should never under any circumstances take a back seat to economics," said APA President Captain Dave Bates. "Congress was explicit that 1,500 training hours must be the minimum level required for new-hire pilots. The current minimum requirement of 250 hours of in-flight experience is grossly inadequate."

The 1,500-hour requirement was part of The Airline Safety and Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act of 2010, which included long-awaited revisions to laws governing aviation safety, in particular for regional carriers. A major impetus for the beefed-up new-hire pilot requirement was the February 2009 accident involving Colgan Flight 3407 in Buffalo, NY that killed 50 people. The National Transportation Safety Board attributed the accident, in part, to the crew's inexperience.

"Some news reports have suggested that the key issue concerning new-hire pilot experience is money," Bates said. "Airline managers are evidently concerned that airlines will have to increase pilot pay to attract qualified candidates if the 1,500-hour requirement stands.

"The key issue is safety, not money--airlines should be focused on the safety ramifications associated with inexperience. There's no substitute for an experienced, properly trained and well-rested pilot at the controls."

Founded in 1963, the Allied Pilots Association--the largest independent pilot union in the U.S.--is headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas. APA represents the 11,000 pilots of American Airlines, including 1,988 pilots on furlough. The furloughs began shortly after the September 11, 2001 attacks. Also, several hundred American Airlines pilots are on full-time military leave of absence serving in the armed forces. The union's Web site address is American Airlines is the nation's second-largest passenger carrier and fifth-largest cargo carrier.

Allied Pilots Association Captain Sam Mayer, 817-302-2350 / 203-731-1112 or Gregg Overman, 817-302-2250 / 817-312-3901

Source: Allied Pilots Association