A coalition of pilot unions opposed to single-pilot operations was formed.
This coalition included the International Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), European Cockpit Association (ECA), and International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations (IFALPA).
The coalition plans “to prevent airlines and manufacturers from pushing ahead with plans to remove pilots from the flight deck, a profit-driven scheme that poses a significant safety risk.
” ALPA, ECA, and IFALPA said they will act to “protect the flying public and counter an aggressive corporate-led lobbying campaign targeting regulators around the world, including the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).”
The unions noted that there are “unacceptable safety risks posed by single-pilot flight operations, especially during abnormal events and emergencies,” but that airlines and aircraft manufacturers are pressuring regulators to put “profits first and introduce an unacceptable level of safety risk to commercial aviation” (citing a study by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of the United States).
“Whether you depart from New York, San Francisco, or Atlanta bound for London, Paris, or Tokyo, a crew of at least two qualified, experienced, trained, and rested airline pilots is at the controls on the flight deck of your plane,” jointly stated Jason Ambrosi, the President of ALPA, Jack Netskar, the President of IFALPA, and Otjan de Bruijn, the President of ECA. The three union Presidents and Captains added that every aspect on a flight was “deliberately designed for a team working together on the flight deck”.
“Despite developments in automation and improved technologies on the flight deck, two pilots at the controls remain the most important safety features of an aircraft,” the statement continued. “Technology, no matter how sophisticated, is not a replacement for pilots on the flight deck.”
Andrea Boiardi, the Chief Specialist of Operational Suitability at the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), previously stated that the organization does not currently anticipate that single-pilot operations will be permitted by 2030. Boiardi did not, however, completely rule out the possibility that, by 2027, some aspects of flying would be managed by a single person in the cockpit.