Unwise and Unsafe
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.
CA Ed Sicher, APA President
CA Chris Torres, APA Vice President
FO Patrick Clark, APA Secretary-Treasurer
CA Peter Gamble, BOS Domicile Chair
CA Curt Detzer, BOS Domicile Vice Chair
CA Doug Hancock, CLT Domicile Chair
FO Erik DeWinne, CLT Domicile Vice Chair
CA Joe Collins, DCA Domicile Chair
CA Tim Doreen Jr., DCA Domicile Vice Chair
CA Jon Sherrell, DFW Domicile Chair
FO Jason Gustin, DFW Domicile Vice Chair
CA John Karam, LAX Domicile Chair
CA Bill Evans, LAX Domicile Vice Chair
CA Lawrence Cutler, LGA Domicile Chair
CA Jim Scanlan, LGA Domicile Vice Chair
CA Thomas Copeland, MIA Domicile Chair
CA Anne Witcher, MIA Domicile Vice Chair
CA Dave Powell, ORD Domicile Chair
FO Tim Daudelin, ORD Domicile Vice Chair
FO Paul DiOrio, PHL Domicile Chair
CA Kevin Wilkes, PHL Domicile Vice Chair
CA David Duncan, PHX Domicile Chair
FO Brian Ellis, PHX Domicile Vice Chair