Management’s “Rush to Failure”
On October 1, 2016, American Airlines will transition to a single flight operating system (FOS) and shortly thereafter begin flying as one fleet – indeed one everything, or so we are told. APA has attempted discussions with management on several fronts to do our part to contribute to the success of this monumental endeavor, but management has largely shown a lack of interest in our concerns.
APA’s concerns are simple:
1. Codify the procedures – make them contractually compliant
2. Improve our scheduling
3. Fatigue mitigation
After numerous requests, APA recently received the “Playbook” used to train your crew schedulers and trackers. Upon intensive review, your Contract Compliance Committee found numerous deviations from agreed-to procedures, which explains why the schedulers and trackers are making so many errors. These errors have contributed to the significant increase in operational disruptions, compensation discrepancies, and fatigue events that we’ve seen in recent months. The Contract Compliance Committee and APA Contract Administration continue working nearly around the clock to fix the problems, but frankly management is creating problems faster than we can fix them. Our message to management: Let us help. There is no need to “rush to failure.” Management’s response has been that they are not interested.
We are the operational leaders, and our professionalism and dedication are essential to American Airlines’ success — as a safe and reliable operation, and as a sound and rational investment for all stakeholders, shareholders, and employees alike. As your union president, I am appalled at the DOT rankings placing American Airlines last among 12 U.S. major carriers. We attribute much of this industry-lagging performance to schedule inefficiencies that compromise operational reliability. Former American Airlines President Scott Kirby stated during contract talks that management did not like some of the trips that were constructed and flown and that management would try to do something about it. We have been left wondering when that might be. Now is a good time for Robert Isom, who replaced Mr. Kirby as the airline’s president, to speak up.
Management appears to be satisfied with the status quo in its relations with the pilot group, which needs to change. APA wants our airline to succeed. We want to see a successful merging of the three operations and stand ready to contribute our unique skills to that effort. In return, we ask that management discontinue its rush to failure. As pilots, we are the “longest” invested stakeholder in our company, with little career portability. This is our airline and our careers, and failure is not an option.
Captain Dan Carey