Plan to Revoke Pilots' Licenses on Suspicion Abandoned

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Faced with a lawsuit by pilot unions, the government acknowledged on June 11 that regulations it had issued in January 2003 allowing it to revoke the certificates of pilots suspected of being security threats cannot be lawfully enforced. The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) and other unions had challenged the regulations as unfair and inconsistent with due process, because they permitted a pilot's certificate to be revoked on mere suspicion, and did not allow for any procedure to contest the revocation. As the litigation progressed, the FAA and the TSA ultimately promised "never to enforce the rules," ALPA said in a news release Friday. Accordingly, the court dismissed the lawsuit because, in light of the government's acknowledgement, the validity of the regulations was no longer in issue. "We are quite pleased with the outcome," said Capt. Duane Woerth, president of ALPA. "The 'guilty until proven innocent' attitude toward U.S. pilots that was embodied in the regulations, and which the government has now been forced to abandon, is simply unacceptable. Guaranteeing due process under the law is a cornerstone of our country's legal system," Woerth said.