ALPA Issues Statement On LAHSO Concerns

WASHINGTON, May 24 /PRNewswire/ -- The following statement was issued today by Captain Duane Woerth, president of the Air Line Pilots Association, Int'l., (ALPA), regarding the use of land-and-hold- short procedures:

On April 25, the Federal Aviation Administration announced what it called a ``final version'' of an order on an air traffic control procedure called ``land and hold short operations,'' or LAHSO, which the Administration had intended to implement on May 27, this coming Saturday.

In layman's terms, the essence of a LAHSO procedure is that it takes two airplanes that are on, or are approaching, two intersecting runways, aims them at each other, and trusts that the system will keep them from actually colliding.

When properly conducted and under ideal conditions, LAHSO can be a safe way to boost the number of takeoffs and landings at an airport.

However, the reason I am making this statement today is to advise the public of an action that the Air Line Pilots Association is taking to ensure the highest level of safety for our passengers.

Because the FAA has not yet addressed all our major points with LAHSO, we are advising ALPA members of our safety concerns, and strongly recommending that they do not participate in any LAHSO operations at any airport.

This action is necessary because the FAA is refusing to implement its own proposed requirement that landing procedures for certain airports be tested before LAHSO can be conducted on these runways. In our view and as a result of preliminary testing by the FAA, these problem airports need further analysis before we as pilots are assured that the highest level of safety exists prior to conducting any rejected landing procedures.

Under its own recommendations, the FAA would conduct testing to validate the safety of rejected landing procedures. However, they have conducted only initial testing, which has revealed serious safety problems with LAHSO.

Let me reiterate this, because it goes to the heart of the issue:

The FAA's approach to LAHSO is flawed. Instead of doing the testing, and then allowing LAHSO to be conducted in accordance with the results of those tests, the FAA is granting blanket permission to perform LAHSO before completing the essential tests.

This is not the way ALPA approaches its safety obligations. ALPA raised concerns about LAHSO some 18 months ago. At that time, we were prepared to recommend to our members that they not participate in LAHSO operations until ALPA's safety concerns were fully addressed. These concerns led to an ongoing effort by ALPA and the FAA to develop procedures to safely conduct land and hold short operations.

But after our last meeting, which occurred late Monday afternoon, it became apparent to us that the FAA intends to continue LAHSO operations without adequate testing.

We cannot, in good conscience, accept this backward logic.

As spokesmen for the men and women of the Air Line Pilots Association who bear the responsibility of safely transporting our passengers, I commit to you that we will not accept this compromise of safety.

Therefore, to repeat, the Air Line Pilots Association is now transmitting to all of its pilots our strong recommendation that they not participate in any LAHSO operations until the FAA fully resolves all safety issues.

Additional information and background on LAHSO is available on our website at www.alpa.org/internet/LAHSO/index.htm. Also, a video animation depicting a generic LAHSO event exemplifying ALPA's concerns will be available via satellite download today, 05/24, 2:00-2:15 PM Gal 3/23 (c) band - Slingshot DC and on Thursday 05/25, 11:00-11:30 AM Telstar 6/8 (c) band - MDLK extended AM window.