APA Welcomes Latest Class of Pilots
APA hosted a welcome dinner Tuesday for the latest class of pilots: Scott Anderson, Robert Ballard Jr., Steven Callender, Giovanni Cannavo, John Clayton, Aaron Copeland, Steven Davison, Edward Dunn, Brian Hannah, Michael Hanson, Bernard Jabbour, Donald Krog, Bruce Lindenberg, Matthew Nowicki, Michael Panayi, Eric Rojewski, David Smith and James Swenson.
Board of Directors to Reconvene Nov. 4
The board of directors will resume its fall meeting Nov. 4 at 1 p.m. Central. All open portions of the meeting will be webcasted for membership viewing. Most of the Wednesday session will likely be closed, with the board to meet in caucus to discuss remaining committee elections, selection of a new vice president and headquarters staffing needs. On Thursday, the agenda will include a Financial Audit Committee report, along with a legal briefing. A portion of the legal briefing will be in closed session.
The meeting is scheduled to continue through Nov. 6. To access the webcast once the meeting is underway, click the Board Meeting Webcast link at the top of the members' home page of our website.
Video: Board Addresses Concerns with Company Reps
Last Thursday, the board of directors met with American Airlines Managing Director Crew Planning/Scheduling JonCarlo Gulbranson and American Airlines Director Line Operations CA Mark Cronin. For those of you who weren't able to attend the meeting or watch the live webcast, we have excerpted this portion of the meeting in video form.
Board members raised a series of issues with Mr. Gulbranson:
• LGA Chairman CA Mike Burr stated that "the ship has run aground a bit" where culture change is concerned.
• STL Chairman CA Marcus Spiegel cited the company's scheduling optimizer as "a definite concern."
• DFW Chairman CA Tom Westbrook characterized the scheduling system as "way too tight" and expressed the view that by addressing pilot quality-of-life issues, management would foster a "win-win" for the airline and our pilots.
• ORD Chairman FO Scott Abbott stated that our pilots "need immediate relief" from TTS, noting functionality problems among other concerns.
At the conclusion of the board's remarks to Mr. Gulbranson, APA President CA Keith Wilson presented him with a proposed letter of agreement regarding TTS. The board then engaged in a discussion with CA Cronin that primarily focused on scheduling, hotels and TTS. CA Cronin stated that "I'm here to help our pilots do their jobs and live their lives" and emphasized that "pilots work for flight, not crew scheduling." In responding to input regarding the declining quality in layover hotels, CA Cronin indicated the company has identified 36 properties that need "immediate attention." He acknowledged that the situation can be complicated by the presence of "a great hotel in a lousy location" and "a lousy hotel in a great location."
Contract Administrator Scott Marzano Departing; Revised Administrator Hours
APA's four full-time contract administrators work diligently to answer members' contract-related queries. On average, our highly experienced team fields about 135–170 calls each day from LAA pilots, with LUS pilots served by a separate team of contract administrators.
Scott Marzano, who has served APA's membership as a contract administrator for the past five years, has accepted a position outside APA and will be leaving us effective close of business today. The APA leadership wishes Scott the very best in his new professional venture. Until we are able to secure a successor, the following contract administration schedule will be in effect: Oct. 31 and Nov. 7, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. CT; Nov. 2–6, 7 a.m.–5 p.m. CT.
We will keep you apprised of department hours and staffing as our candidate search continues.
DCA, MIA Interim Elections
DCA: The following individuals have been placed into consideration for nomination for DCA interim vice chairman and have indicated a willingness to serve if elected. In alphabetical order: FO Joseph L. Collins,
FO Jorge "George" Sanchez. The first round of balloting has been eliminated because there were fewer than four candidates who expressed a willingness to serve for office.
MIA: The following individuals have been placed into consideration for nomination for MIA interim vice chairman and have indicated a willingness to serve if elected. In alphabetical order: CA Joe Bazo,
CA Nick Colyvas,
FO Angus MacBride,
CA Dave "Miami" Mangold, CA Edward F. Sicher,
FO Neil Strong,
CA Chris J. Terry,
CA Ronald B. Veser,
CA Brian Vitale.
The election schedules are posted on the elections page of alliedpilots.org.
Reminder About 401(k) Transaction Availability
As the company communicated in its "Time to Choose" publication regarding the new pilot-only 401(k), "there will be a period of time during which account transactions will be temporarily unavailable."
A period of limited availability began Tuesday and will expand today. At that time, pilots will be restricted from requesting transactions in their 401(k) account, including loans, distributions or withdrawals, changes to beneficiary elections; any beneficiary changes; and changes to the amount they contribute.
According to the company, the restrictions will be removed the week of Nov. 1.
Climb Via Application
Some FAA departure facilities are issuing an initial PDC/verbal clearance of "Climb Via SID except maintain XXX." Shortly after departure, the departure controller then simply issues "Climb Via SID." This amends the initial altitude clearance to the published top altitude, and the crew should climb via SID, complying with all altitude constraints to the published top altitude.
For instance, Denver is issuing on the EPKEE3 "Climb Via SID except maintain 10,000," which amends the top altitude to 10,000 feet instead of the FL 230 published. Shortly after check-in, the departure controller may issue a clearance to "Climb Via SID." This restores the published top altitude of FL 230 and obligates the crew to honor all intermediate altitude restrictions.
One caution to be aware of is that if you are lightweight, you may find yourself level for a short while to stay at or below 10,000 feet at the first fix. (This is true on all Denver SIDS.) It is also critical to maintain vigilance on the VNAV path to ensure a climb does not begin prematurely. Additionally, any accidental activation of another vertical mode (such as vertical speed) will cause the aircraft to climb to the altitude set in the Altitude Preselect Window.
APA Safety is working diligently with ATC facilities throughout the country to try to standardize the issuance of climb via clearances without any temporary restrictions.
New Kidney Stones Clearance Procedures
The aeromedical department has received good news regarding kidney stones. The FAA has just approved a new process that will allow your AME to issue a medical when your condition is:
• Stable (no increase in number or size of stones)
• Unlikely to cause sudden incapacitation
• Off pain medication(s), have made a full recovery from surgery, has a release from the surgeon
• No history of complications (including chronic hydronephrosis; metabolic/underlying condition; three or more procedures in the last five years; renal failure or obstruction; sepsis, or recurrent UTIs caused by stones)
If you have a retained stone and your doctor feels that it will not cause sudden incapacitation, you can now clear immediately and then bring in your X-ray or CT report and current status letter from your urologist at your next FAA medical. The same conditions exist for clearing with a history of multiple stones.
These new approved clearance procedures will eliminate the need for a special issuance (SI) for retained stones or multiple stones that meet the above criteria. The status report, found here on the Aeromedical Committee's Web page, can help your urologist know what needs to be covered in the letter. The worksheet, found here, will help further explain the requirements, but we recommend also speaking with our aeromedical advisers at 817-302-2400 to ensure a customized response to your medical situation.
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) or Pulmonary Embolus (PE)
The aeromedical department has noticed a huge increase over the past several months of cases of DVT and PE. The summer months, with increased temperatures and decreased hydration, could have played a part in the issue, just as cases of kidney stones have also increased over the summer. DVT and PE can be caused by being dehydrated and then spending long stretches of time sitting, as occurs when flying, which allows your blood to pool in the lower legs. APA aeromedical advisers recommend that all pilots consider wearing compression socks when flying and move around frequently, including bending and extending your legs while sitting. Drinking plenty of fluids when flying is so important for preventing kidney stones and preventing DVT and PE. A more detailed article about DVT and PE and how to prevent these events will be forthcoming in the near future.
New Edition of Safety Preflight Available
The Safety Committee is pleased to announce the Sept./Oct. edition of Safety Preflight. All of the articles and information are the result of the collaborative efforts between APA Safety, American Airlines Safety, American Airlines Flight and the FAA. The intent is to keep you fully informed of the hazards and threats identified by our joint safety programs and share the lessons learned.
A copy of Safety Preflight has been placed in your fleets' Flight Safety folder in MyMobile365 and will automatically download the next time you sync your iPad. A copy can also be found on the new ASAP & Flight Safety Publications tab on AAPilots.com and from a link on the APA Safety Web page.
Highlights of this month's edition:
• Welcome to Safety Preflight: By APA President CA Keith Wilson.
• Safety Report Review: A review of recent reports and the lessons learned from the ASAP, LOSA, Fatigue Risk Management and FOQA programs.
• WSI Weather Resources: By Dispatch Instructor Brennan Scott. An overview of the WSI app and WSI Fusion, the common weather resources available to both pilots and dispatchers.
AAG Reports "Highest Quarterly Profit in Company History": $1.9 Billion
Last week, AAG reported the "highest quarterly profit in company history." Excluding net special items, AAG reported a pre-tax profit of $1.9 billion.
AAG noted in its press release that this is a 54 percent increase versus the third quarter 2014.
The company also reported that it had a cash balance of $9.6 billion. During the third quarter, AAG reported that it had also returned $1.63 billion to its shareholders through $67 million in quarterly dividends and the repurchase of $1.56 billion of common stock, bringing the 2015 total cash return to shareholders to $2.7 billion, and also reaffirmed its intent to repurchase another $2.0 billion by year-end 2016. This brings the total amount authorized in 2015 for share repurchase to $6.0 billion. AAG added that it expected its 2015 consolidated fuel expense to improve by approximately $5 billion year over year.
Analyst models are now estimating record profits for AAG going forward this year. The current profit model by Wolfe Research airline analyst Hunter Keay is forecasting a fourth-quarter 2015 profit of $1.3 billion and a full-year 2015 profit of $6.3 billion.
The Industry Analysis Committee will provide additional detail next week, including outside analyst commentary.
U.S. Carriers Being Forced out of Middle Eastern Markets by Unfair Gulf Carrier Subsidies
The Partnership for Open and Fair Skies released a statement Wednesday regarding Delta's planned termination of its service between Atlanta and Dubai effective Feb. 11. "The U.S. government can no longer ignore the clear harm that Gulf carrier subsidies are inflicting on American carriers and the men and women who work in our aviation industry," said Jill Zuckman, chief spokesperson for the partnership. "The flood of subsidized capacity pouring into these routes has swamped any chance of fair competition, forcing U.S. carriers to cut services that American travelers rely on."
Line Operations Safety Audit Program
On behalf of APA Safety, thank you for your support of the Line Operations Safety Audit (LOSA) program. Throughout the past few months, your LOSA team has been busy hiring, training and integrating the LUS and LAA programs into one. The LOSA program is now fully operational on both LAA and LUS flights with a team of 45 trained and calibrated observers. LOSA observes more than 100 flights monthly with a goal of 20 percent international where we collect data on threats and operational challenges that you encounter in day-to-day operations. International observations including Europe, Asia and Deep South began on all our fleets in September.
With PSS cutover and the new jumpseat reservation system coming this month, be assured that LOSA observers will continue to be good stewards of the cockpit jumpseat for all American Airlines pilots. Observers remove themselves if a fellow American Airlines crewmember arrives at the gate for a full flight that they intend to observe. Observations are voluntary — any pilot can decline a LOSA observation. However, the primary goal is to support you, the line pilot, by collecting data to facilitate positive change.
Please contact FO James Kwasny with questions or concerns.
Hotels: Reviews, Selection, The Final Word
Always remember that you have the final word regarding what constitutes suitable in the form of an APA hotel debrief.
New APA ID Badges to Follow New AA Crew IDs
APA will produce and distribute new union ID badges to all members after American Airlines issues new crew IDs. Although your existing APA ID badge bears a Sept. 30, 2015, expiration date, it will remain valid until replaced by the new badge.
New Flightline Now Posted
The latest edition of Flightline magazine, featuring a focus on "a new era and continuing challenges," is now posted to the website. Members will also receive a printed copy soon.
B-17 Tour Stop in Dallas Oct. 30–Nov. 1
EAA is offering historic flight experiences in its beautifully restored B-17G Flying Fortress "Aluminum Overcast" from Oct. 30 to Nov. 1 at Dallas Love Field. One of only 13 Fortress' still flying, this aircraft is an icon of the Allied strategic bombing effort that helped turn the tide of battle in World War II. The event is hosted by EAA Chapter 34.
ORD Retirement Planning Seminar Nov. 16
This seminar Nov. 16 at the Westin O'Hare is designed to provide you with an understanding of your pension and medical benefits as a retiree of American Airlines and will cover benefits (medical plans, life events, retirement and 401[k]), the countdown to retirement and managing wealth. Please see the flier for details.
Correction: Board of Directors Fall Meeting
The article "Board of Directors Fall Meeting" published in last week's APA News Digest listed an incorrect bid status for DFW-based FO Patrick O'Rourke in the paragraph containing information about the newly elected Negotiating Committee. We apologize for the error.