American Airlines' Pilots Union Opposes Runways Planned for Easterly Takeoffs
from El Toro
Both commercial airline pilots unions
agree that, for safety reasons, Runways 7L and 7R will not be used for
takeoffs. This is the takeoff direction that the county wants to use for
70 percent of all departures.
On October 11, 1996, the Air Line Pilots Association,
(ALPA), the nation's largest commercial pilots union, representing 49,000
members, wrote to the County of Orange as follows:
"ALPA will steadfastly oppose the use of El Toro
as a commercial airport if takeoffs to the east on runways 7L and/or 7R
are a condition of its use of such a facility." The pilots'
objections for safety reasons were detailed in this and a subsequent
The county staff and consultants
have tried to ignore ALPA, the largest pilot's union. Now,
the Allied Pilots Association, (APA), representing all of the remaining
major air carrier pilots in the country has joined ALPA in taking the same
position on El Toro safety.
PO Box 5524,
Arlington, Texas 76005-5524
972-988-3188 . Fax 972-606-5666
Richard T. LaVoy, President
March 9, 1998
Mr. Jim Silva, Chairman,
Orange County Board of Supervisors
10 Civic Center Plaza
Santa Ana, CA. 92701
I am writing on behalf of the Allied Pilots Association
(APA), which serves as the collective bargaining agent for all 9,000 American
Concerned Orange County citizens have asked the APA
to comment on the proposed flight patterns described in the Environmental
Impact Report (EIR) on the El Toro Airport.
The report proposed that the primary departure path,
using the current runway alignment, would be to the east to minimize noise.
Our concern is that the easterly departure path with prevailing tailwinds
and into rising terrain would reduce the margin of safety.
The concerned citizens have told us that proponents
of the airport have stated that takeoffs to the east would be safe under
certain conditions. That may be accurate, but the most common conditions
make takeoffs to the east marginally safe, compared to maximum safe takeoffs
to the west. The difference in safety margin between takeoffs to the east
compared to the west is very significant.
The Air Line Pilots Association, representing 49,000
pilots has stated in written comments about the EIR that,”...ALPA will
steadfastly oppose the use of El Toro as a commercial airport if takeoffs
to the east.... are a condition....”.
The safest primary departure path, using the current
runway alignment, would be to the west, into the prevailing winds and away
from the rising terrain.. Our pilots will use the safest departure paths
into the prevailing winds and away from rising terrain at El Toro, just
as we do now at the John Wayne Orange County airport
In summary, we want to assure all concerned that APA
will always use the safest flight patterns and will not compromise safety
for noise. We hope that we have answered the questions of your concerned
citizens and we would be happy to analyze any further proposals that your
airport planners have concerning the flight patterns that we would fly
out of the proposed El Toro Airport.
Captain Rich LaVoy, APA President
Click here for previous Allied Pilots Association letter
Return to summary of flight path comments
by other commercial pilots.