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APA Sues American Airlines over Training Practices

American Airlines N118NN Airbus A321-231. Photo: Daniel Gorun/Airways

Comments from American Airlines, Allied Pilots Association

American’s Head of Flight Operations, Lyle Hogg, said in a letter to check pilots that the carrier expects to add up to 180 pilots per month through the end of the year. Line pilots can volunteer to serve as “seat fillers” for the final simulator exam to free up check pilots to conduct the evaluations, according to Hogg, to help speed up the training pipeline.

“This unilateral action by American Airlines management degrades the training experience and risks long-term damage to the airline’s safety culture,” APA President Eric Ferguson said in announcing the suit, adding that if the AA’s training resources weren’t under severe duress, management “wouldn’t have taken this unilateral, reckless, and unlawful action to fill these simulator sessions in a manner that is not contemplated by our collective bargaining agreement.”

The airline retorted that the request for volunteers is in no way jeopardizing safety and that it may be a career opportunity for line pilots. An airline representative notes that the initiative is meant to allow line pilots to support the flight training simulator program, which is good for our pilots and provides even more training capacity to support continued growth.”

The airline added, “The pilots volunteering are highly qualified and experienced, and are responsible for the safety of our customers and fellow crew members every day.”

N853NN, American Airlines Boeing 737-800 @KDEN. Photo: Michael Rodeback/Airways

To Volunteer on Not to Volunteer

The airline’s effort may come to a halt before it can get off the ground. APA has bluntly made its position in a letter to its members, saying it is “directing pilots not to volunteer for these special assignments.”

The letter adds that “Management’s effort to divide the pilot group by offering that work to ‘volunteer’ line pilots will not be tolerated, nor will it succeed.”

The union exercised its right to begin negotiations on a new collective bargaining agreement early in 2019. AA and APA have since been embroiled in contract talks. The contract became formally amendable in 2020.

N139AN, American Airlines Airbus A321 and Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-800. Photo: Michael Rodeback/Airways

Staffing Shortages Woes

Due to a shortage of qualified instructors, Southwest Airlines (WN) said earlier this year that it would restrict pilot hiring. Moreover, many US regional airlines, as well as Alaska Airlines (AS) and JetBlue Airways (B6), are experiencing pilot and overall personnel shortages.

Apart from severe weather, staffing shortages

DALLAS – The Allied Pilots Association (APA) union has filed a complaint against American Airlines (AA), alleging labor law violations related to the airline’s lack of preparedness for the upcoming peak summer travel season.

Airline Weekly reports that yesterday, the union, representing AA crewmembers, filed a lawsuit in the federal district court for the Northern District of Texas. APA alleges AA broke the Railway Labor Act by implementing a change without consulting the union.

The union argues that AA has not hired enough check pilots to train new pilots, which the airline denies. According to AA, the airline’s check pilot roster read more ⇒

Source:: “Airways Magazine”

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