Tag Archives: SWAPA

SWAPA lists the reasons why it is picketing Southwest Airlines

Mission Statement:

The Southwest Airlines Pilots Association (SWAPA) is the union of Southwest Airlines Pilots with the mission of unifying, negotiating, and advocating for safety and security, career enhancement through collective bargaining, demanding contract compliance and job protection, and being the outspoken voice of all Southwest Airlines pilot interests to all audiences while also providing exceptional 24/7 representation and support to the pilots we represent.

Approximately 1,300 off-duty SWAPA pilots held an informational picket line at Dallas’ Love Field terminal yesterday. The union is concerned about poor working conditions as the pilot shortage lingers.

The union has listed the reasons for its concerns in this dramatic poster:

Southwest Airlines aircraft photo gallery:


Southwest Airlines cancels over 1,800 flights over the weekend, blaming weather and staffing


Southwest Airlines cancelled over 1,800 flights over the weekend stranding passengers. The airline blamed air traffic control issues, bad weather and staffing shortages.

27% of its fleet was grounded on Sunday.

SWAPA, representing Southwest pilots issued this statement:

SWAPA is aware of operational difficulties affecting Southwest Airlines due to a number of issues, but we can say with confidence that our Pilots are not participating in any official or unofficial job actions.

Our Pilots will continue to overcome SWA management’s poor planning, as well as any external operational challenges, and remain the most productive Pilots in the world. They will continue to be focused on their highest priority — safety. SWAPA Pilots are true professionals and will always maintain the highest level of responsibility to their crews, their passengers, and our airline.

More from CNBC:


SWAPA lawsuit accuses Southwest of ignoring union bargaining duties during pandemic

From Reuters:

“The Southwest Airlines Pilots Association (SWAPA) filed a complaint in federal court in Dallas on Monday claiming that Southwest should have collectively bargained with the union instead of giving itself “force majeure” rights when air travel plummeted during the pandemic.

The union claims Southwest implemented an “emergency time off” program, altered schedules, and scaled back prescription drug and retirement benefits without bargaining, in violation of federal labor law.

It asked the court for an injunction, forcing the airline to stick to the terms of the collective bargaining agreement, which lapsed on Aug. 31, 2020, until a new agreement is reached.”

Read the full article:


SWAPA opposes the implementation of pre-departure COVID-19 testing

SWAPA issued this statement:

Southwest Airlines Pilots Association (SWAPA) strongly opposes the implementation of a pre-departure COVID-19 testing requirement for domestic air travel. Such a mandate would decimate domestic air travel demand, put aviation jobs at risk, and create serious unintended consequences.

International travel demand is down as much as 48% since the implementation of a pre-departure testing requirement. Decreases in domestic travel demand would run even higher as the cost of testing in many cases would exceed the cost of travel. This reality would simply cause travelers to choose an alternative method of travel with a much greater probability of exposure.

Labor, air carriers, and regulators have developed a data-driven, multi-faceted, layered approach to air travel, providing travelers a safe means of travel with low risk of COVID-19 transmission. In contrast, driving, by the CDC’s own admission, places travelers at a higher risk.

“Making stops along the way for gas, food, or bathroom breaks can put you and your traveling companions in close contact with other people and frequently touched surfaces.” — CDC: Domestic Travel During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Implementing a domestic testing requirement would also overwhelm testing and lab resources. While feasible for international travel, a domestic travel testing mandate would require a 42% increase in daily testing nationwide. This would present a waste of critical resources as air travel accounts for a small number of COVID-19 transmissions.

COVID-19 has devastated the airlines, causing some to cease operations altogether and leaving others with insurmountable levels of debt. Any further reduction in demand would lead to more failures and tens of thousands of workers losing their jobs while simultaneously doing little to prevent the spread of the disease.

Cases of COVID-19 are trending downward and the newly implemented federal mask mandate, combined with our data-driven layered approach to safe air travel is producing results. The focus going forward should be on vaccination distribution. Increased vaccination rates combined with existing COVID-19 safety protocols are the keys to success when it comes to defeating this virus and returning the U.S. airline industry to profitability.

SWAPA files lawsuit against Boeing over the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX

SWAPA has issued this statement:

The Southwest Airlines Pilots Association (SWAPA) today announced that it has filed a lawsuit against The Boeing Company for deliberately misleading the organization and its pilots about the 737 MAX aircraft.

The lawsuit, filed in the District Court of Dallas County, Texas, alleges that SWAPA pilots agreed to fly the 737 MAX aircraft based on Boeing’s representations that it was airworthy and essentially the same as the time- tested 737 aircraft that its pilots have flown for years. These representations were false. Boeing’s errors cost the lives of 346 people, damaged the critical bond between pilots and passengers, and reduced opportunities for air travel across the United States and around the world.

“As pilots, there is nothing more important to us than the safety of our passengers,” said Captain Jonathan L. Weaks, President of SWAPA. “We have to be able to trust Boeing to truthfully disclose the information we need to safely operate our aircraft. In the case of the 737 MAX, that absolutely did not happen.”

The grounding of the 737 MAX has caused the elimination of more than 30,000 scheduled Southwest flights. This is expected to reduce the airline’s passenger service 8% by the end of 2019, resulting in compensation losses for SWAPA pilots in excess of $100 million. Southwest is the largest operator of the 737 MAX, and the aircraft is not expected to return to passenger service until the first quarter of 2020.

“It is critical that Boeing takes whatever time is necessary to safely return the MAX to service,” added Captain Weaks. “Our pilots should not be expected to take a significant and ever-expanding financial loss as a result of Boeing’s negligence. We look forward to a solution that helps Boeing restore the confidence of both the flying public and the pilots who operate its aircraft.”

SWAPA’s update on the Boeing 737 MAX

SWAPA, the union representing Southwest Airlines pilots union, has provided this update via their President:

As you learned last week, Southwest has now removed the MAX out of their schedule until at least September. With the confusing information coming from the FAA, national and geopolitics, and Boeing’s continued missteps, there is no accurate estimate of when the MAX will return to service. Present projections range from September to December. Certification flights on the new MCAS flight control logic (remember, MCAS is not a system) will continue in the next few weeks and decisions on what form of training will be required have not been made.

Boeing seems to receive more bad news with every passing week and still needs to learn how to rebuild trust as well as the airplane. Boeing failed to disclose MCAS initially, failed to build in redundancy, and failed to notify the FAA of issues related to MCAS in a timely manner. In March, they expectedly but reprehensibly, asked to have the venue switched from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to Indonesia in order to settle the Lion Air Flight 610 accident for minimal amounts. If Boeing’s tactic succeeds, the cases for the families become nearly worthless and a similar strategy might be attempted for the Ethiopian accident as well.

While there are still questions and issues with each respective airline’s management, training, and flight crews, Boeing still has substantial responsibility and liability and will undoubtably face many legal issues, civilly, and perhaps criminally, in the United States federal court system. A requested change of venue only exacerbates and continues to harm Boeing’s image and trustworthiness in the eyes of the public and Congress.

SWAPA is continuing to cooperate with the United Sates Justice Department’s Criminal Division in their subpoena of our records and information regarding the MAX. This and other SWAPA expenses relating to the MAX, as well as the loss of flying to our members is very expensive. SWAPA will be seeking compensation and reimbursement from Boeing for every dollar legally available to be challenged when the MAX issues are resolved.

Besides correcting their obvious mistakes, there are many things Boeing should do to gain the trust of the Pilots who fly the MAX. As the 737 has been modified and evolved, and stage length increased, there have been very little to no advancements for UV protection, enhanced window sun shades, reduction of flight deck noise, or flight deck crew seats and jumpseat ergonomics, health, safety and comfort. On the 737, pilots have basically been an afterthought as evidenced from the non-disclosure of MCAS to the aforementioned issues.

While there is ample information from the Lion Air accident, Ethiopian Flight 302 is an entirely different story. There is little hope of getting more cooperation, data, or information from that crash, except for perhaps a sanitized final accident report, which will probably not have the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) data or much else. The Ethiopian government and Ethiopian Airlines possess the data and information that is needed to answer the many remaining questions and provide a complete report.

As a member of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Ethiopia is also technically required to comply with the Accident Investigation Section and Annex 13 – Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation of the ICAO policies. However, in actuality, ICAO has very little enforcement and/or sanctioning authority.

Some of the questions and issues that still need to be answered and explored are:

  1. Details of training and information Ethiopian Airlines received from Boeing and others on how to train their crews and what was directed to be trained
  2. Syllabus, format, and details of ground, simulator, and flight training that Ethiopian Airlines previously used and now uses to train their crews
  3. Details of their Safety Management System (SMS)
  4. What training and or information was given to Ethiopian flight crews regarding MCAS after the Lion Air accident
  5. Their procedures for unreliable airspeed and stick shaker
  6. Theirauto-throttleprocedures
  7. Their flight mode selection criteria and training
  8. Their autopilot engagement criteria
  9. Their runaway stabilizer procedures
  10. Theirairspeedoverspeedrecognitiontrainingandprocedures
  11. Their extended envelope training and unusual attitude recovery training

Ethiopian Airlines depends on some of its revenue from being a member of the Star Alliance and the government of Ethiopia considers the airline important for the stability of the country. Also, Boeing is highly involved in ab initio pilot training programs and training overseas. In fact, in a CNBC interview that appeared on Monday, June 17, the Boeing CEO highlighted the pilot supply/demand issue in an effort to shore up future sales and profit from future flight training.

These issues taken together may present a conflict of interest, thereby further complicating a full, complete, and impartial investigation and may affect safety in the future. SWAPA will continue to lobby for one level of safety, qualifications, and training for flight crews worldwide, while requesting the FAA to use its position in ICAO to do the same.

In the future, Congress must address their 2004 decision where they mandated the FAA have authority to expand the role of aircraft manufacturers via an “Organization Designation Authorization” (ODA), delegating much of the FAA’s regulatory oversight to the very companies it oversees. In effect, Congress created much of the current ODA problem by reducing the FAA’s budget to conduct oversight internally and effectively. Any solution should provide a safeguard to prevent another flawed certification.

Part 25 of the Federal Aviation Regulations that address certification regulations and requirements may need to be examined. Although legally required by current Part 25 standards, there will invariably be a discussion of whether MCAS should have practically been required to be added to the MAX, and/or should the MAX have been a separate type rating to begin with. How type ratings should be promulgated and regulated in the future is already being discussed. SWAPA has been asked to comment on several proposed bills that address some of these issues, which are making their way through Congressional offices and committees.

As the MCAS problems are corrected, there are still issues with the new LEAP 1-B engines regarding coking, where residual fuel remains in the fuel nozzles after shutdown. This issue must be fully understood. SWAPA has specifically asked both Boeing and Southwest maintenance management whether the cool-down procedures for the LEAP engines is a contributing factor with coking. The answer remains no.

In closing, remember that both accidents, despite being compounded by an ill-designed and faulty MCAS flight logic, began with an erroneous stick shaker and unreliable airspeed indications. Once the flaps were retracted, and the erroneous MCAS activation occurred, runaway stabilizer conditions began to occur. We have had a checklist for airspeed unreliable and runaway stabilizer at our disposal for many years. SWAPA is adamant that the runaway stabilizer checklist must again be a memory item and that Southwest develop formal and well laid out procedures for erroneous stick shaker activation.

SWAPA pilots proved during SWA flights 1380 and 3472 that two fully trained and qualified pilots are essential to safely recovering a malfunctioning aircraft. As the most experienced 737 operators in the world, our obligation is to continue to mandate the very best training and qualifications for all. There must only be one level of safety. For lives lost and families destroyed, this is the very least we can do to prevent another tragedy from happening again. Safety isn’t just about being safe today, it is about being safer in the future.

Leading forward,


SWAPA welcomes the formation of DOT special committee for aircraft certification

SWAPA issued this statement:

The Southwest Airlines Pilots Association (SWAPA) expressed support for the Special Committee to review the FAA’s aircraft certification process announced this afternoon by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

“For the men and women of SWAPA, safety will always be paramount,” said Jon Weaks, SWAPA President. “SWAPA looks forward to assisting in determining whether improvements can be made to the FAA safety oversight and certification process. SWAPA also appreciates Secretary Chao’s leadership on these issues as well as SWAPA being asked to submit subject matter experts for consideration to the Special Committee.”

SWAPA looks forward to ensuring this endeavor is a success so the U.S. aviation industry will remain the safest in the world.

SWAPA’s position on the Boeing 737-8 MAX 8

Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-8 MAX 8 N8726H (msn 42573) FLL (Andy Cripps). Image: 945527.

SWAPA, representing the pilots of Southwest Airlines, has this position on the Boeing 737-8 MAX 8, as stated by Jon Weaks, Union President:

As we continue to mourn the loss of life related to Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, media, political and public interest remain high and, at times, in a near frenzy. I would like to brief you on the most current factual information SWAPA has received.

Both the Digital Flight Data Recorder (DFDR) and the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) of ET302 have been recovered. Both of these recorders should be examined and read within the next week.

Also, today the FAA issued a Continued Airworthiness Notification to the International Community (CANIC). In it, the FAA said it “has dispatched personnel to support the investigative authorities in determining the circumstances of this event. All data will be closely examined during this investigation, and the FAA will take appropriate action if the data indicates the need to do so.”

The FAA further said that teams from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), as the accredited representative, and the FAA, as Technical Advisors, are supporting the Ethiopian Accident Investigation Bureau.

The FAA acknowledged “external reports are drawing similarities between this accident and the Lion Air Flight 610 accident on October 29, 2018. However, this investigation has just begun and to date we have not been provided data to draw any conclusions or take any actions.” It is, however, important to note that there also have been reported eyewitness accounts that suggest this accident is not similar to the Lion Air crash.

Following the Lion Air Flight 610 accident, the FAA listed completed activities in support of continued operational safety of the MAX fleet:

Issued FAA emergency Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2018-23-51 on November 7, 2018 Validated that airplane maintenance and functional check instructions on Angle of Attack (AOA) vane replacement were adequate

Conducted simulator sessions to verify the Operational Procedures called out in FAA AD 2018- 23-51

Validated AOA vane bench check calibration procedures were adequate

Reviewed Boeing’s production processes related to the AOA vane and Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS)

In addition, the FAA listed ongoing activities it is overseeing:

Boeing’s completion of the flight control system enhancements, which provide reduced reliance on procedures associated with required pilot memory items. The FAA anticipates mandating these design changes by Airworthiness Directive no later than April 2019.
Design changes include:

MCAS Activation Enhancements MCAS AOA Signal Enhancements MCAS Maximum Command Limit

Boeing’s plans to update training requirements and flight crew manuals to go with the MCAS design change include:

Airplane Flight Manual (AFM) and Flight Crew Operations Manual (FCOM) Quick Reference Handbook (QRH) – notes in Speed Trim Fail checklist

Airplane Maintenance Manual (AMM) Interactive Fault Isolation Manual (iFIM) Boeing has proposed Level A training impacts

I have been in numerous conversations with Southwest Vice President of Flight Operations Captain Alan Kasher, who informed me that the MAX aircraft has 17,000 recordable parameters and Southwest has compiled and analyzed a tremendous amount of data from more than 41,000 flights operated by the 34 MAX aircraft on property, and the data supports Southwest’s continued confidence in the airworthiness and safety of the MAX.

I have also had conversations with TWU 556 President Lyn Montgomery, who represents Southwest Flight Attendants, AMFA National President Bret Oestreich, SWAPA Safety Committee and SWAPA Government Affairs Committee members, as well as leaders from other Pilot labor unions. I relayed to them that SWAPA is extremely confident that our entire fleet, including the MAX, is safe based on the facts, intelligence, data, and information we presently have. We fully support Southwest Airlines’ decision to continue flying the MAX and the FAA’s findings to date.

I will continue to put my family, friends, and loved ones on any Southwest flight and the main reason is you, the Pilots of SWAPA. We have lobbied hard for our training to continue to evolve and improve, and due to having the finest union Training and Standards Committee in the industry, that is

We now have Extended Envelope Training (EET) in addition to our regular annual training and since SWAPA and others have brought awareness to the MCAS issue, we have additional resources to successfully deal with either a legitimate MCAS triggered event or a faulty triggered MCAS event.

SWAPA also has pushed hard for Angle of Attack (AOA) sensor displays to be put on all our aircraft and those are now being implemented into the fleet. All of these tools, in addition to SWAPA Pilots having the most experience on 737s in the industry, give me no pause that not only are our aircraft safe, but you are the safest 737 operators in the sky.

Let me also be very clear that SWAPA has not and will not hesitate to hold any organization or person accountable when the safety and or well-being of our passengers, our organization, our families, fellow Southwest employees or the traveling public are even remotely at risk. If we need to address additional factual information that may present itself in the future, we will do so forthwith and without hesitation to ensure the safety of all.

Leading Forward,


Top Copyright Photo (all others by the airline): Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-8 MAX 8 N8726H (msn 42573) FLL (Andy Cripps). Image: 945527.

Southwest aircraft slide show:


Southwest Airlines and its pilots reach a tentative agreement on a new contract

Southwest Airlines (Dallas) has announced a new tentative agreement with the Southwest Airlines Pilots’ Association (SWAPA), the Union that represents the Company’s Pilots. SWAPA’s Board of Directors reviewed an Agreement in Principle that negotiators reached earlier this month and decided to conduct a ratification vote that could end more than three years of negotiations.

The Company said the agreement offers wage increases and work-rule changes that will benefit the pilot group and position Southwest to continue its expansion both domestically and internationally.

Union Leaders will communicate with Pilots over the next few weeks to share the details and terms of the agreement. The ratification vote will close November 4. If Pilots approve the deal, the contract will become amendable April 1, 2019.

Southwest employs more than 8,000 Pilots. They operate a growing fleet of 737s and fly roughly 3,600 flights a day to 95 destinations across the United States and six international destinations.

Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com. The Triple Crown One special livery is now on a Boeing 737-700 with the updated tail markings. Boeing 737-7H4 N409WN (msn 27896) arrives at Baltimore-Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport (BWI).

Southwest Airlines aircraft slide show (current livery): AG Airline Slide Show

AG Prints-6 Sizes

Southwest Airlines’ pilots union begins possible strike preparations

Southwest Airlines‘ (Dallas) pilots, represented by the Southwest Airlines Pilots’ Association (SWAPA), have issued this statement about strike preparations:

SWAPA logo

The Southwest Airlines Pilots’ Association (SWAPA) have announced staffing and funding for a Strike Preparedness Committee. The committee will work closely with professional outside consultants, staff, other committees and resources of the union to prepare the pilots of Southwest and the flying public for all contingencies available under the Railway Labor Act (RLA) if SWAPA and Southwest Airlines cannot come to an agreement on a new contract in the coming months. The pilots and company have been engaged in federally-mediated talks through the National Mediation Board (NMB) since November in hopes of closing out remaining open items including pay, retirement, scheduling, and job scope.

“While a strike is certainly not in either side’s best interest, the Railway Labor Act clearly defines the procedure for protracted negotiations which can lead to a lock out by management or a suspension of service by our pilots. SWAPA is doing our due diligence to prepare our pilots and passengers for the next steps in this federal mediation process should we not be able to reach a deal,” said SWAPA President Capt. Paul Jackson. “We have been in negotiations for more than three years and are seeking a market rate contract for pilots that is in line, economically, with our peers at other major airlines.”

SWAPA’s Strike Preparedness Committee is structured to and tasked with educating SWAPA members and the general public on future steps of the negotiating process, formulating contingency plans for potential job action situations, and maintaining relationships with other airline groups who have self-help experience. They will work in conjunction with the Outreach Committee, which will host events nationwide to talk to pilots and their families about the status of negotiations and the preparations needed should negotiations not come to a conclusion and SWAPA is released by the NMB to proceed to self-help.

“Despite astronomical profits and record-setting forecasts for the coming years, Southwest Airlines management has not come forward with an economic offer that can bring both sides to an agreement,” continued Jackson. “Our offer is very affordable and would not impact the company’s competitive low-cost advantage. It is time for a deal.”

Copyright Photo below: Tony Storck/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-7H4 N918WN (msn 29843) in the updated “Illinois One” special livery taxies at Baltimore-Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport (BWI).

Southwest Airlines aircraft slide show (current livery only): AG Airline Slide Show