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News & Press: Press Releases

Regional Airline Association Calls On The Department of Transportation To Improve Aviation Safety

Tuesday, December 5, 2017; 202-357-1257

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, December 5, 2017


Proposal would increase structured training under the First Officer Qualifications (FOQ) rule

WASHINGTON – The Regional Airline Association (RAA), which represents 22 North American regional airlines, urged the Federal Aviation Administration to approve additional, safety-enhancing structured training pathways for Part 121 airline first officers. In comments addressed to the Department of Transportation on Nov. 31, RAA asked the FAA to modify 14 CFR 61.160 and use its existing authority to approve more pathways.

Since the FOQ Rule was implemented in 2013, empirical data has proven that structured training pathways, which are allowed under today’s regulations but approved in limited circumstances, actually produce the most proficient pilots. Creating additional structured training pathways will continue to improve aviation safety, while simultaneously increasing the supply of future pilots.

The U.S. currently faces a growing shortage of commercial airline pilots. Regulatory obstacles and high training costs are barring entry to the career during a period of unprecedented major airline hiring. With too few pilots to serve all of today’s routes, the regional airline industry is contracting.

Regional airlines provide the only source of scheduled, commercial air service to two-thirds of U.S. airports. As the industry continues to contract, hundreds of U.S. communities have already lost air connectivity and frequency, and many communities have lost all air service. Without intervention, these impacts will worsen.

“Improving aviation safety and reopening the pilot career path are not mutually exclusive objectives,” said RAA President Faye Malarkey Black. “We urge the FAA to review the available data and carefully evaluate additional pathways, approving them where they will enhance safety.”

More information about the proposed modification can be found at “RAA Comments” filed with DOT at and “Pilot Workforce and Training Solutions” at


 About the RAA:

The Regional Airline Association (RAA) provides a unified voice of advocacy for North American regional airlines aimed at promoting a safe, reliable and robust regional airline industry.  The RAA serves as an important support network connecting regional airlines, industry business partners and government regulators in bolstering the industry as well as promoting regional airline interests in a changing business and policy environment.



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