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Allied Pilots Association: “Reliable Scheduling Benefits Everyone With a Stake in American Airlines”

FORT WORTH, Texas (June 22, 2021) – The Allied Pilots Association (APA), representing the 15,000 pilots of American Airlines, emphasized its commitment to helping improve American Airlines’ operational reliability.

The airline has canceled a large number of flights in recent days, citing the quick ramp-up of customer demand, labor shortages at some of its suppliers, and inclement weather at its largest hubs as factors behind the schedule adjustments.

“Reliable scheduling benefits everyone with a stake in American Airlines, including our pilots, fellow employees, passengers, and investors,” said Allied Pilots Association President Capt. Eric Ferguson. “We are committed to working with airline management to do all we can to improve operational reliability and alleviate the inconvenience our passengers are experiencing. APA has identified interim solutions to the airline’s scheduling problems that could immediately benefit all concerned, bridging the pilot training and staffing shortfalls that the airline now faces.

“We are deeply grateful for the lifeline that the White House and Congress — and by extension, American taxpayers — provided our industry through the Payroll Support Program, which enabled our nation’s airlines to weather the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said. “In providing this vital support, policymakers acknowledged commercial aviation’s role as critical infrastructure. Unfortunately, it appears that American Airlines management did not maintain its own infrastructure in preparation for our industry’s recovery.

“In order for the airline to properly recover, it must be properly managed.”

Ferguson pointed out that American Airlines was the only major carrier to furlough pilots, which has proven to be a costly misstep that is contributing to the airline’s scheduling problems.

“Every pilot that was furloughed must go through retraining before they can fly again. That’s a key reason why the airline now finds itself short of fully trained, qualified pilots who can perform their tasks legally,” he said. “Management also did not take the steps necessary to ensure that enough of our pilots still on the payroll remained qualified, legal, and available through the downturn so they would be ready to go when needed.

“As professional aviators, our top priority will always be safety,” Ferguson said. “We are likewise dedicated to helping ensure our passengers receive the reliable service they expect and deserve, and that requires a team effort.”

Founded in 1963, the Allied Pilots Association — the largest independent pilots union in the United States — is headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas. APA represents the 15,000 pilots of American Airlines, including several hundred pilots on full-time military leave of absence serving in the armed forces. The union’s website is AlliedPilots.org.

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