A union representing American Airlines pilots is reportedly raising concerns about new cockpit procedures, claiming pilots have not been given enough time or training.
In a Jan. 2 statement, the Allied Pilot Association said American Airlines Flight Operations management attempted to circumvent robust safety-related pilot training by unilaterally imposing operational changes using a handout.
According to USA Today, APA spokesman Capt. Dennis Tajer said they had also received updates to the instruction manual and a short video with a general overview of the changes that he said were not specific to the aircraft that American pilots fly.
“While APA does not oppose fleet harmonization, we are steadfast in our commitment that pilots must be properly trained BEFORE operating with passengers. This training must be developed in a stakeholder safety culture that recognizes and addresses concerns raised by APA. To date to date, that has not happened,”[ads1]; the union states. “This attempt to train by bulletin, while ignoring serious safety concerns and well-established best practices, risks dramatically eroding safety margins.”
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“Simply put, management’s actions are unwise and unsafe,” it argued, also noting that operational changes will change how pilots communicate, coordinate and perform flight safety tasks during some of the most “high-threat flight times.”
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The statement accused the airline of “putting profits ahead of people,” including passengers, and said it has appealed to a Federal Aviation Administration chief operating inspector “without results or relief as of this deadline.”
They urged pilots to thoroughly review operational and manual changes and discuss any concerns before performing safety tasks.
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“Our commitment to safety is unwavering, which is why we regularly update our flight operations manuals to ensure they represent the most recent and safest information for our pilots. These changes represent industry best practices and ensure improved crew coordination and consistency across fleet types so our Pilots can easily switch between different aircraft if they choose,” American Airlines said in a statement to FOX Business.
“These updates have been underway since 2021 and have been a coordinated effort with the APA Training Committee. In addition, the approach to familiarizing our pilots has been approved by the FAA,” it added.
However, Tajer claimed that there had been no partnership with the APA on these particular changes and that the union had requested a delay in implementation, which was rejected by American Airlines.
The pilot said a request by the FAA to intervene was also rejected.
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“The FAA requires airlines to have robust safety management systems that allow employees to report safety concerns,” the FAA told Fox Business in an email. “The agency reviews these employees’ reports daily to ensure the safety of an airline’s operations.”
In a Jan. 1 letter from management that Tajer shared with USA Today, pilots were advised that: “during this learning period, the changes are small enough that blending the new with our current messages and procedures will not pose undue risk .”
“On the flight deck, mixing procedures — those that are no longer valid with those that are — is reckless,” Tajer said.