Air Line Pilots Association, International

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ALPA logo.png
Full name Air Line Pilots Association, International
Founded 1931
Members 51,000+
Affiliation AFL-CIO, IFALPA, CLC
Key people Capt. Tim Canoll, President
Office location 1625 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C.
Country NADIAD, Canada

The Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA) is the largest pilot union in the world,[citation needed] representing more than 51,000 pilots[citation needed] at 31 U.S. and Canadian airlines. ALPA was founded in 1931[citation needed] and is a member of the AFL-CIO and the Canadian Labour Congress. Known internationally as U.S.-ALPA, ALPA is also a member of the IFALPA.

Member pilot groups[edit]

ALPA represents the following bargaining units:[citation needed]

Other pilot groups[edit]

Notable major airline pilots that are not part of ALPA and have their own pilots union:

Controversial safety-related conduct[edit]

While ALPA has claimed to support testing for drugs and alcohol, of pilots who survive accidents, the conduct of ALPA representatives, following the fatal takeoff crash of USAir Flight 5050 on September 20, 1989, was contrary to that stated policy. ALPA reps sequestered both surviving pilots and refused to reveal their whereabouts until such time that any testing for drugs and alcohol would be useless. This made the NTSB investigators so upset that a very unusual and strong statement was included in the official accident report:

"The Safety Board is extremely concerned that no federal investigators were allowed to speak to the pilots of flight 5050 until almost 40 hours after the accident.... The Air Line Pilots Association representatives initially stated that they also did not know where the pilots were, then later stated that their location was being withheld so they could not be found by the media.... The sequestering of the pilots for such an extended period of time in many respects borders on interference with a federal investigation and is inexcusable."[1]

After the FAA prepared subpoenas to compel them to appear, the pilots finally relented and appeared some 44 hours after the accident. Upon the advice of their ALPA attorney, the pilots refused to provide any blood samples, but did give urine samples.

Valid samples, taken shortly after that accident were very important to the investigation, especially since the NTSB found numerous "crew coordination problems" during its investigation. But, the conduct of ALPA representatives, acting contrary to ALPA's stated safety policies, prevented a thorough and complete investigation.[2][3][4]

At a press briefing, James L. Kolstad, the acting chairman of the NTSB, stated "there clearly was a lack of proper procedure being followed in the cockpit" of USAir Flight 5050.

Kolstad also said "it clearly took too long" for the pilots to present themselves for drug and alcohol testing. "The public has a right to know that its transportation system is alcohol- and drug-free", Kolstad said. "Failure to promptly volunteer for alcohol and drug testing following a major accident is inexcusable. The provision of urine samples, and no blood samples, almost two days after this accident severely impedes our investigation and unnecessarily creates an environment of suspicion."[4]


  1. ^ "Aircraft Accident Report: USAir Flight 5050". 
  2. ^ "Then and Now". 
  3. ^ McFadden, Robert D. (September 22, 1989). "Pilots Sought". The New York Times. Retrieved May 27, 2010. 
  4. ^ a b Malnic, Eric (September 23, 1989). "FAA Suspends". latimes. Retrieved July 5, 2014. 

External links[edit]