American Airlines is not starting off 2023 well with its pilots union. The APA issued this statement:
American Airlines Flight Operations management is attempting to circumvent robust safety-related pilot training by unilaterally imposing operational changes via bulletin. 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 acknowledges and addresses concerns raised by APA. To date, that has not occurred. This attempt to train by bulletin, while ignoring serious safety concerns and well-established best practices, runs the risk of dramatically eroding margins of safety.
Simply put, management’s actions are unwise and unsafe.
The operational changes that management is attempting to implement without fulsome training alters how pilots communicate, coordinate, and execute flight safety duties at some of the most high-threat times of flight. These high-threat times include, but are not limited to, rejected takeoffs, low visibility approaches, and go-arounds. Aligned and standardized crew communication and coordination is the bedrock of maintaining the safety margin during all phases of flight, but particularly during high task-loaded maneuvers. Management’s attempt to train by bulletin reeks of training on the cheap and placing profits before people.
The FARs are clear: As part of its SMS obligations, American “must provide training to [its pilots] to ensure [they] attain and maintain the competencies necessary to perform their duties relevant to the operation and performance of the SMS.”
“Training by bulletin” does not ensure that our pilots are competent on the proposed changes and thoroughly understand them. Management’s implementation plan is inconsistent with its obligations under the SMS and the FARs and is not the way to ensure the safety of our passengers. As pilots, we know that clear, concise direction and properly coordinated actions are essential to the safe carriage of our passengers and crews.
As troubling as this is on its own terms, management’s most recent CCI message (01.01.23) gives us even more cause for alarm. In what we believe to be unprecedented direction, management has stated that “mixing the new with our current callouts and procedures” for an undefined period is the new compliance standard. Management has now advised pilots that the AOM changes do not require strict or even immediate implementation, and still without robust pilot training.
This latest CCI pronouncement is so vague that it is challenging to know what the pilot certificate implications would be should an event occur and you have not adhered to the new AOM procedures.
We do not agree with management’s attempted imposition on our pilots and have appealed to our FAA Principal Operations Inspector without results or relief from this deadline. Please remember that you, the pilots of American Airlines, are the last line of defense for our passengers.
As such, we urge every pilot to take the time to review the operational and manual changes thoroughly before operating your respective aircraft, ensuring that you discuss amongst your crew any concerns that may exist BEFORE you execute your safety duties. Should you need further clarification on the changes, we urge you to call your respective fleet training managers to clarify your understanding BEFORE moving the aircraft.
American Airlines must do better, you deserve better, and your union will not be a party to such recklessness.
Stand your ground for safety. Our passengers are counting on us.
Additionally the union issued this further statement:
We have received word that management representatives have been attempting to intimidate pilots who are complying with their obligations to take the time necessary to review new AOM procedures, including issuing Missed Trip (MT) removals. APA leadership stands by its pilots as they take all necessary steps to ensure that they are fully prepared to operate their flights safely. If you are removed from a trip because you exercised your right and responsibility to review the new AOM changes prior to departure, APA will support you, represent you, and advocate for you to be paid. APA will push back against management intimidation in any form.
Ultimately, management’s intimidation tactics reduce safety. Our pilots are the last line of defense when it comes to safety of operation. Despite management’s tactics, our guidance remains the same:
Every pilot should take the time to review the operational and manual changes thoroughly before operating your respective aircraft, ensuring that you discuss amongst your crew any concerns that may exist BEFORE you execute your safety duties. Should you need further clarification on the changes, we urge you to call your respective fleet training managers to clarify your understanding BEFORE moving the aircraft.
Thank you for remaining engaged and for acting responsibly to ensure that we safely deliver our passengers to their destinations.
“We will not push off the gate until we feel prepared,” CA Dennis Tajer told @tedreednc of @Forbes. “This is fixable if management would back off the unnecessary immediate changes. We want this to work, but we demand training.” https://t.co/9osEeEpiUV
— Allied Pilots (@AlliedPilots) January 3, 2023
Top Copyright Photo: American Airlines Airbus A321-231 WL N141NN (msn 6656) IAH (Jarrod Wilkening). Image: 959826.
American Airlines aircraft photo gallery (Airbus):