Global associations joined forces to fight against single-pilot operation in commercial aviation
A coalition of leaders from the world’s largest pilot organizations has been established to counter the profit-driven scheme that could pose significant safety risks by removing pilots from the flight deck. Representatives from the International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations (IFALPA), the European Cockpit Association (ECA), and Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA) have vowed to take collective action to safeguard the flying public and challenge the lobbying campaign targeting regulators worldwide, including the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
ALPA President Capt. Jason Ambrosi, IFALPA President Capt. Jack Netskar, and ECA President Capt. Otjan de Bruijn wrote an opinion piece emphasizing that every flight requires a crew of at least two qualified, experienced, trained, and rested airline pilots at the controls. They noted that the aircraft, its systems, regulations, and procedures are deliberately designed for teamwork on the flight deck.
Despite advancements in automation and improved technologies on the flight deck, two pilots remain the most critical safety features of an aircraft. A 2017 study by NASA and the Federal Aviation Administration identified that single-pilot flight operations, especially during abnormal events and emergencies, pose unacceptable safety risks. However, some airlines and aircraft manufacturers are advocating for reduced-crew operations, putting profits ahead of safety.
Professional pilots support new technology that enhances safety. Nevertheless, they unanimously agree that reduced-crew operations will increase risk and compromise safety. They eliminate system-failure scenarios and act as critical onboard backup for failed systems, bridge technology gaps, and adapt in real-time to unexpected situations and emergencies. Technology, regardless of how sophisticated, cannot replace pilots on the flight deck.
The global pilot community, including the Associations of Star Alliance Pilots, the Oneworld Cockpit Crew Coalition, and the SkyTeam Pilots Association, will do everything in their power to ensure that current safety standards are not eroded. They are united in the fight against reduced-crew operations, and more information on these collective efforts can be found at www.safetystartswith2.com.