RAA urges Congress and FAA to immediately address pilot supply challenge RAA urges Congress and FAA
Friday, February 28, 2014
Posted by: Admin
Washington, DC--The Regional Airline Association (RAA) issued a call to action for Congress and the FAA to work together to fix the pilot supply challenges outlined in the GAO’s report “Aviation Workforce—Current and Future Availability of Airline Pilots” issued today. The report confirms the traditional pilot supply pipeline has been completely severed by the “1500 hour rule” and has added an extraordinary time and financial burden for the nation’s highly trained pilots to enter the workforce. The rule has unintentionally cost thousands of airline and related jobs, and dozens of communities their air service. These cuts will continue to grow over the coming years unless the government immediately addresses this issue, stated RAA.
“Some 70% of the US relies on regional airlines for their only scheduled flights, and RAA has been among many that have said this 1500 hour rule was an arbitrary ‘quantity versus quality’ standard. RAA also predicted that it would lead to a significant loss of air service to communities large and small –but its impact has proven more immediate and significant than analysts predicted with hundreds more cities that could lose their service and thousands more lost jobs across all sectors,” said RAA President Roger Cohen.
“As GAO and other stakeholders confirm, our national air transportation system is the safest in the world. All of the gold standard voluntary safety programs are universal across our membership, but the current 1500 rule does not reflect the value of quantity versus quality hours underscored by the former FAA Administrator (also a former ALPA President),* Cohen noted. “It is imperative we continue to encourage the next generation of aviators to support our growing system. Congress needs to place immediate attention on the FAA to establish policy that supports this safe air transportation system, and reconnects tomorrow’s aviators with jobs.”
Former FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt said "One of the things that the Call Action has also shown a light on is the issue of varying operational experience. We do not believe that simply raising quantity – the total number of hours of flying time or experience – without regard to the quality and nature of that time and experience – is an appropriate method by which to improve a pilot’s proficiency in commercial operations. For example, a newly-certificated commercial pilot with the minimum number of hours might be limited to certain activities until he or she could accumulate the type of experience deemed potentially necessary to serve as a first officer for an air carrier. Such experience would need to include training and operational experience in the multi-pilot environment, as well as training and exposure to icing, high altitude operations and other areas common to commercial air carrier operations. "
"The final rule will be consistent with the philosophy of enhancing the quality and effectiveness of training rather than focusing on traditional quantitative measures such as total flight time."
Founded in 1975, Washington, D.C.‐based RAA provides a wide array of technical, government relations and public relations services for regional airlines. With safety as its highest priority, the association's 29 member airlines and nearly 200 associate members represent the key decision‐makers of this vital sector of the commercial aviation industry. With more than 13,000 regional airline flights every day, regional airlines operate half of the nation’s scheduled flights with nearly 70 percent of U.S. airports relying on regional airlines exclusively.