Allied Pilots Association

Headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, near Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, the Allied Pilots Association (APA) serves as the certified collective bargaining agent for the 15,000 professional pilots who fly for American Airlines. APA was founded in 1963 and is the largest independent pilots’ union in the world. APA provides a broad range of representation services for its members and devotes more than 20 percent of its dues income to support aviation safety.


APA in the News

CBS, April 16

Pilot union at American Airlines reports spike in safety concerns

APA has seen a significant spike in safety- and maintenance-related problems in American Airlines’ operation, including collisions between towed aircraft and tools left in wheel wells. “We’re telling our pilots slow down, take your time, and watch for these potential errors, because they’re starting to increase across the system,” APA spokesman Capt. Dennis Tajer told CBS. Watch the interview ...


CNBC, April 9

‘Benefit of the doubt running thin with Boeing’: Capt. Dennis Tajer on whistleblower claims

A Boeing engineer says sections of the 787 Dreamliner fuselage are improperly fastened together and could break apart. CNBC asked APA spokesman Capt. Dennis Tajer for his reaction to that whistleblower’s claims: “Airplanes are not like Ikea furniture. You can’t just press them to fit and then jam in a securing bolt.” Watch the interview ...


CBS, April 4

Senator calls for FAA review of Boeing’s failure to disclose MAX features to pilots

Sen. Tammy Duckworth called on the FAA to investigate why Alaska Airlines pilots were unaware their plane's cockpit door was designed to automatically open during a rapid depressurization. "This nondisclosure of the cockpit door design just adds to Boeing's rap sheet of withholding information from pilots,” APA spokesman Capt. Dennis Tajer told CBS. Read the article ...


APA Public Statements

Presidential Grievance: PBS Awards Error

Presidential Grievance: PBS Awards Error As the Scheduling Committee affirmed in its membership update yesterday, we became aware that not all pilot Vacation Extension (VEX) days were respected upon publication of the PBS awards, with hundreds of trips issued in error. In related discussions with management this afternoon, the Scheduling Committee conveyed APA’s position that pilots who were affected by this error should have the option to drop the trips and be paid. Management refused, claiming they don’t have to issue PBS awards until the 18th of the month and indicated they would be rerunning and publishing the awards this evening. The Bidding Timeline in the PBS MOU clearly states that “PBS Bidding Closes” on the “13th day of month prior @ 12:00 HBT” and that "PBS Award Official Publication" is “NLT 16th day of month prior @ 12:00 HBT.” The PBS MOU also states the following: “A pilot’s final bid award shall be available for review in PBS upon award publication.” In response to management’s incorrect interpretation of the language in the PBS MOU, I am filing an Expedited Presidential Grievance seeking enforcement of the MOU, along with relief in the form of financial compensation for pilots who are monetarily impacted and penalties for not complying with the MOU timelines. We will also seek enhanced penalties to deter any future noncompliance with the timelines. While management has previously failed to comply with the MOU timelines, this is far and away the most egregious instance, and we will not permit management to reinterpret binding contract language at will simply because it’s easier for them to do so. Instead, we will aggressively insist on full compliance. CA Ed Sicher APA President

Safety First. Safety Always.

Safety First. Safety Always. By now, I trust most of you have had an opportunity to read the membership update the APA Safety Committee issued on Saturday detailing the adverse safety trends APA has been tracking. In response to my request, we met with senior management earlier this month to discuss the operational hazards we have identified. Thanks to the diligent efforts of the APA Safety Committee and Maintenance and Technical Analysis Committee, we now have management’s full attention. We secured management’s commitment to involve the union earlier in the safety risk assessment (SRA) process, and we are likewise seeking a commitment that APA will have a seat at the table for the entire quality assurance process. APA is squarely focused on finding solutions – which will require collaboration between the union and management – and management’s initial response to our concerns was encouraging. As APA presses forward with its efforts to protect and enhance the margin of safety at American Airlines, we will keep you apprised of our progress. In turn, thank you for continuing to keep us informed of safety- and maintenance-related issues by documenting them via an ASAP Report or Maintenance and Technical Analysis Debrief – your feedback is vital. The data you provide cannot be ignored or dismissed. We have a responsibility to ensure a safe operation, and it is a responsibility your union takes seriously. Thank you for you continued vigilance in protecting our passengers and crews. CA Ed Sicher APA President

The Strongest Link in the Safety Chain

The Strongest Link in the Safety Chain APA has been tracking a significant spike in safety- and maintenance-related problems in our operation. While United Airlines is currently under public and government scrutiny, it could just as easily be American Airlines. Among the problematic trends we’re seeing: Tools left in wheel wells. An increasing number of collisions between aircraft being tugged or towed. Improperly closed out maintenance actions with repeat writeups (sometimes 20 or more in a row). The removal of overnight maintenance checks unless the aircraft is written up or due scheduled maintenance. Pressure to return aircraft to line service to maintain on-time performance due to a lack of spares. Improperly issued Engineering Authorizations for damaged aircraft repositions. The absence of proper Special Flight Permits on international maintenance ferry flights. The abbreviation of Functional Check Flights when aircraft return to service after heavy maintenance or long-term storage. Increased intervals between routine aircraft inspections. An increasing number of items left in the safe area near jet bridges. Remember: Don’t rush, don’t be intimidated, and don’t be pressured into doing something that doesn’t pass the “smell test.” Just because it’s legal doesn’t make it safe. Be mindful of the hazards while operating on the ramps and taxiways in congested airports staffed with inexperienced controllers and ground personnel. Ferry flights and maintenance repositions have become especially problematic. Notably, the Flight Operations Manual, Chapter 22 under Non-Scheduled Flights, warns that “More than one quarter of turbine aircraft accidents happen during functional check, ferry and exhibition flights” (Source: SAFO 07-006). The Flight Safety Foundation echoed that statistic in an article . The FOM is clear: Captains must comply. In instances where foreign authorities may intercede, any pilot conducting Non-Scheduled Flight Operations must be able to vouch for proper documentation, including Engineering Authorizations, the application of MELs, and the tracking of repeat write-ups/troubleshooting. In certain categories of these flights – such as those operated under a Special Flight Permit – crews must physically possess and present the required documents confirming adherence to country and ICAO procedures, including proper Overflight Authorizations. While noncompliance in the United States presents certain risk to your career, noncompliance outside the United States presents a clear and present danger to your personal freedom. Recently, one of our crews had an in-flight emergency and recovery back into a foreign country. The foreign authorities gathered all documentation and meticulously inspected the aircraft status paperwork, interrogated the crew, and demanded they explain and justify the checklist procedures they conducted. Whenever you encounter a safety- or maintenance-related problem, document it via an ASAP Report and Maintenance and Technical Analysis Debrief . We all understand that aviation accidents are the result of a chain of events – often a series of errors – and catching just one of those errors could prevent a tragedy. As the last link in the safety chain, our passengers and crew depend on us to be the strongest link in that chain.

1995 Just Called – America West Wants its Business Model Back

1995 Just Called – America West Wants its Business Model Back American Airlines management has been busy for the past few weeks. For the first time in seven years, management hosted an “Investor Day” on March 4, using it to unveil portions of their updated business plan. The Investor Day and the J.P. Morgan Industrials Conference that followed gave us a peek into the company’s strategy and how it may affect our future flying. Unfortunately, the news isn’t good from our pilots’ perspective. Chief Executive Officer Robert Isom sees future profitability as dependent on growth opportunities in underserved domestic markets, with the crux of his business plan revolving around these marginal locations. In other words, the airline management team responsible for producing profit margins that badly lag those of Delta and United believes that opportunity beckons by taking on Southwest Airlines and the ultra low-cost carriers. Not mentioned once: defending the cornerstone cities that American Airlines’ historical business plan was built on, which produced a revenue premium. In his Investor Day remarks, Chief Commercial Officer Vasu Raja emphasized that “short haul is the foundation of value for customers and investors.” The importance of the Sun Belt, upgauging the airline (flying larger airplanes to smaller cities), and improving the domestic network were his primary focus. He mentioned “opportunities in El Paso” more than a dozen times. At least there’s good news if you happen to live in El Paso. But where are the legitimate opportunities for future growth that produce profits? Vasu remarked that long haul will be used “only when demand peaks,” signaling an intention to revert to the regional operation this America West management team cut its teeth on, albeit on a larger scale. Chief Operating Officer David Seymour followed up with an emphasis on operational reliability improvements and the airline’s ability to recover from IROPS “better than anyone else,” but he made little mention of how his original schedule construction will change to build robustness into the system from the get-go, thus avoiding the need to put the operation back together in the first place. He also didn’t address our persistently high reserves head count that far exceeds the industry average. American Airlines puts thousands of pilots on reserve who could be holding lines and flying more predictable, profitable, and efficient schedules. Our average reserve pilot flies approximately 55 hours each month, while the average lineholder flies more than 85 hours. Efficiency takes a back seat to reliability as long as David chases on-time metrics and emphasizes reliability while leaving thousands of reserve “firemen” on the schedule to put out the inevitable fires when his computer-generated schedules fall apart. Boeing recently relearned the hard way that ignoring input from its most valuable resource, its employees, is not in a company’s best interests. Yet American Airlines management seems intent on doing the same things over and over while expecting different results. Our schedules have been broken since before emerging from the pandemic. Narrowbody trips continue getting longer and more onerous. Average line values have not moved down appreciably, our trips haven’t been broken up into more manageable pieces that our pilots can pick up between large chunks of flying, and our trip trade lights have remained stubbornly red since David locked them down in September of 2022. Despite the promises, we’ve witnessed little if any actual improvement. Management’s “new” business plan doesn’t include a focus on improving operational efficiencies and instead centers on future short-haul revenue opportunities that may or may not produce profits. As we have seen from the recent foray into Austin, these well-intentioned plans are typically money-losers. The profits are almost never in line with our competition at Delta and United, which see the benefit of catering to the premium, business, and international customers that American Airlines appears to be abandoning. There is another problem with the new business plan. The increased emphasis on short-haul domestic flying also leaves the company on an inevitable collision course with our Scope clause. Section 1 of our contract is the foundation of our flying agreement, capping management’s ability to fly regional jets while also limiting their ability to fly from non-hub cities to other non-hub cities with RJs (spoke-to-spoke). This was the source of the most recent Scope violation that we arbitrated in February, with the arbitrator’s decision pending. The only ways out of this “square corner” the new business plan creates are absorbing one or more of the wholly owned operations, putting RJs on our seniority list, or attempting to renegotiate our Scope clause, and the latter will most certainly be met with virulent opposition. Investors didn’t like what management had to say, with American’s stock dropping while Delta’s touched a year-to-date high. It’s unclear why management wants to play in the ULCCs’ sandbox and try to compete for their price-conscious customers instead of fortifying and defending the strong hubs we once had in cities like New York that historically produced a revenue premium. If our paltry profit-sharing checks are any indication of the plan’s efficacy, we’re in trouble. The decisions made in the front office don’t bode well for those of us who thought we were being hired by a mainline flag-carrying airline that would provide us with widebody long-haul opportunities and remain solvent in the next inevitable downturn. America West 2.0? As your advocates, we will continue voicing our concerns to management about their stated plans. While we don’t run the airline, we possess a tremendous amount of institutional knowledge thanks to serving as the airline’s frontline leadership. We see firsthand what works and what doesn’t, and we understand what’s in our best interests as pilots. We are convinced American Airlines needs a significant course correction, and we stand ready to help make that happen by working collaboratively with management, provided management is willing to work with us. CA Ed Sicher APA President

APA’s Legislative Priorities

APA makes its voice heard on Capitol Hill.

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