ALPA Seeks More Details About FAA Antidepressant Policy

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The Air Line Pilots Association says it has "a substantial number of questions" about how the FAA will implement its new policy to allow pilots to continue to fly while taking certain antidepressants, so the FAA has reopened its comment period to give ALPA another 30 days to file its comments. The original 30-day comment period closed on May 5, and the FAA said ALPA "has not formally submitted to the public docket its specific questions about the policy's practical applications." Randy Helling, an ALPA vice president, said recently (PDF) that the organization supports the change in policy, which "marks a significant, positive impact for pilots who may be suffering from depression ... and we are committed to seeing this practice implemented." However, he added that Dr. Quay Snyder, with ALPA's Aeromedical Office, had submitted a list of questions about the implementation of the policy to the FAA and the FAA has not responded.

ALPA said it would like to see answers to those questions before filing comments, but the FAA wants those questions to be posted to the public docket so they can "receive appropriate consideration." The FAA said it received few comments during the original 30-day period. Anyone who would like to file comments now has until June 25 to do so.