August 01, 2018

As Senate Prepares to Debate FAA, Duckworth Warns Against Rollback of Critical Air Safety Measures


[WASHINGTON, DC] – Today at the Air Safety Forum event hosted by the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), combat Veteran, pilot and U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) spoke about her efforts to make aviation safer for all Americans as well as more accessible for traveling mothers. Duckworth also detailed the serious risks that would come from weakening pilot certification and qualification requirements, commonly referred to as the 1,500 hour rule, or allowing single pilot all-cargo operations. The U.S. Senate will soon debate the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act. A video of her remarks is available here and photos of the Senator at this morning’s event are available here.

“The FAA Reauthorization Act represents an opportunity to preserve our nation’s status as the world’s safest place to fly while continuing to make improvements that save lives. To maintain this status, I’ll continue to oppose misguided efforts that would reduce the safety of passengers and pilots – such as a recent attempt to weaken the 1,500 hour rule and a provision in the House-passed FAA bill that could lead to single-pilot all-cargo operations. We owe it to the American public to keep these proven safety standards in place.”

Duckworth led her colleagues in opposition to a rollback of the 1,500 hour rule during committee consideration of FAA reauthorization, reminding them that pilots often say FAA regulations are “written in blood.” An amendment to weaken this rule was eventually dropped from the bill. In the 20 years prior to the implementation of the 1,500 hour rule, more than 1,100 passengers died in airline accidents. Since it’s implementation in 2010, only one passenger has died.

Duckworth also discussed her Friendly Airports for Mothers (FAM) Act, which would ensure breastfeeding mothers traveling through all large- and medium-sized airports have accessible, clean and convenient lactation rooms to feed their children and express breastmilk. This bipartisan bill was included in FAA Reauthorization bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in April and is expected to be included in the version that the Senate will consider soon.

The Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA) is the largest airline pilot union in the world and represents over 60,000 pilots at 34 U.S. and Canadian airlines. Founded in 1931, the Association is chartered by the AFL-CIO and the Canadian Labour Congress.