Release #09.005
February 23, 2009

Pilots Call for National Energy Policy to Take on Climate Change
ALPA, Aviation Groups Seek to Address Environmental Concerns while Ensuring Safety, Long-Term Economic Health of Industry

WASHINGTON – The Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), joined 19 other aviation stakeholders recently in issuing a coalition position paper that outlines the principles the airline industry should follow to take on environmental issues without compromising safety or the industry’s long-term financial health.

“Airline pilots are extremely serious about addressing climate change and, at the same time, fostering an industry that provides hundreds of thousands of jobs and is vital to the U.S. economy and transportation infrastructure,” said Capt. Mary Ann Schaffer, chairperson of ALPA’s President’s Task Force on Aviation Sustainability and the Environment.

One of 20 organizations representing airlines, labor, manufacturers, general aviation, airports, and air traffic control interests, ALPA was a signatory on the position paper that names five principles that should frame the debate on aviation and climate change. The principles include creating a cost-benefit analysis, a central framework, an international dimension, a comprehensive energy policy, and a science-based debate.

The group also advocates six additional principles on which any measures to take on climate change should be based, including air traffic control modernization, technology and research, alternative fuels, operational measures, ground infrastructure investment, and economic measures.

“Joining this important coalition is the latest in ALPA’s ongoing efforts to ensure that the aviation industry remains safe and is positioned to recover economically as we address environmental challenges,” said Schaffer. “As our industry seeks to leverage new tools and technologies to help address climate change, airline pilots have a unique perspective from the cockpit. We know what will work and what won’t when pilots fly the line. ALPA will remain engaged every step of the way.”

In 2008, ALPA’s Board of Directors passed a resolution calling for a comprehensive energy policy that reduces fuel prices and volatility by controlling rampant speculation, recognizes aviation’s contributions to conservation, continues the use of carbon-based fuels without increasing the industry’s tax burden, and supports new technology. ALPA’s leaders also urged creation of a transportation policy that fosters a viable and functional airline industry and protects the long-term interests of the public and all airline employees.

“Strong national policy on energy and transportation is the true solution for the airline industry and the environment,” stated Capt. John Prater, ALPA’s president. “ALPA will continue to work on a bipartisan basis with the U.S. Congress and the Administration to craft a national energy and transportation policy to put our industry—and our country—on the path to sustainability.”

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilots union representing 52,250 pilots at 35 airlines in the United States and Canada.

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Contact: Linda Shotwell, 703/481-4440 or