APA News Digest

Jan. 5, 2024

Editor’s note: Some links in this message will work best if you log in to AlliedPilots.org before clicking them.

In This Edition ...

APA President Hosts National Town Hall

On Wednesday, APA President CA Ed Sicher hosted a national town hall, which included these briefings:

  • Secretary-Treasurer FO Pat Clark on the union’s transition to electronic balloting.
  • Grievance Resolution Committee Chair CA Sean Clarke on that committee’s ongoing efforts.
  • Scheduling Committee Deputy Chair CA Andy Weingram on the status of trip trading.
  • Joint Implementation Action Committee Chair FO Matt Stanley on implementation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

The town hall also featured a wide-ranging question-and-answer session with members at large.

Thanks to all who took the time to participate – your engagement is vital to APA’s success.

If you missed the town hall, you can watch a recording of it at AlliedPilots.org/Videos.

Compass Project Points Pilots in Right Direction

This is the latest in a series of articles highlighting the work done by APA’s national committees. Read the rest on our Armed With the Facts webpage.

When it comes to APA committees, there is one that nearly every new hire is familiar with. Not only is the Compass Project one of our largest committees, it’s also among the most necessary. The importance of this committee and what they provide for our pilots cannot be overstated. From their stockpile of documents to the one-on-one mentorship they provide, we can all agree that the pilots who volunteer for Compass are making a positive impact on all of us.

Our Compass Mentors ensure that our new pilots learn how to navigate their new careers at American Airlines. As FO Josh Daneault says, “The main role of Compass Project Mentors is really summed up in our name: mentors. We are there for new hires, providing mentorship and a pathway to success for new hires through training.” The mentors assist our newest pilots with bidding for their monthly schedules or vacations, and they help find any of the documents a new hire may need in our system.

“The biggest issue our new hires face is the amount of different systems needed to become familiar and proficient with flying at American,” FO Daneault says. “Beginning with TMS, and continuing on to finishing OE, becoming familiar with our Reserve system, looking at Open Time, understanding DOTC, TTS, TTS-RT, PBS, DECS and FOS, HI1s, 3s, and 5s, pay statements – the list really goes on and can become overwhelming. The team at Compass has put together great documentation to cover all of this, which is not only relevant to helping facilitate our new hires’ learning period but provides great reference material long after the first year.”

Even after year one, there is so much we can learn, and the Compass Project is an asset we should all utilize. Click here to learn more.

“Positive Rate” Episode 20: Compass Project Committee

In the latest episode of our “Positive Rate” podcast, Communications Committee Deputy Chair FO Tami McBride and committee member CA Chris Ferguson speak with Compass Project Committee Chair CA Mark Erickson about how Compass supports APA members at every stage of their career as American Airlines pilots.

Each episode of “Positive Rate” features various APA leaders and the subject-matter experts working on the membership’s behalf. The podcast is available through popular streaming services, including Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, and Spotify – you can search for “Positive Rate” or “Allied Pilots Association” on your platform of choice to subscribe and download. Your first opportunity to listen will be via AlliedPilots.org/Podcasts.

We welcome your feedback on this format. If you have a question or a comment, please send it to Communications Director Gregg Overman via goverman@alliedpilots.org.

YOUnion 301: Captains’ Development Seminar

The Compass Project and APA Vice President CA Chris Torres will host a 90-minute “YOUnion 301” meeting via Zoom at 1100 Central on Jan. 17. This “Captains’ Development Seminar” is intended to help new captains (and pilots who are about to upgrade) understand the possible hazards and resources of their new roles.

Click here to register for the Jan. 17 seminar.

Report on Mental Health Highlights Project Wingman

CA Mike Doyle and FO Pete Gillespie talked to Scripps News about Project Wingman.

In the wake of the October incident on a Horizon Air flight, news media outlets continue to focus on pilots’ mental health. This week, Scripps News aired a report that featured two Project Wingman volunteers.

FO Pete Gillespie, the APA Aeromedical Committee’s Deputy Chair overseeing Project Wingman, said some pilots still have a hard time getting over the stigma attached to mental-health issues.

“It’s in a pilot’s best interest to ‘not poke the bear,’” he said. “You know, a pilot almost doesn’t want to know what they have, because they inherently don’t want to deal with the FAA side of that equation.”

CA Mike Doyle said he got involved as a Project Wingman volunteer after receiving so much support from his peers while dealing with his young daughter’s illness.

“There became a need for me and a desire to pay it back,” he said.

The Scripps News report also featured National Transportation Safety Board Chair Jennifer Homendy, who said not all pilots are able to benefit from programs like Project Wingman.

“That doesn’t exist everywhere in the aviation industry,” she said. “There’s an entire group of general aviation pilots and others that don’t have access to peer-to-peer training programs.”

“You Get Our Attention When You Say People Might Get Killed”

In late December, Boeing petitioned the FAA for an exemption from key safety standards for the 737 MAX 7’s engine anti-ice system due to a defect with potentially catastrophic consequences. APA Communications Committee Chair CA Dennis Tajer said the pilot procedure the FAA approved as an interim solution is inadequate given the serious potential danger.

“You get our attention when you say people might get killed,” he told The Seattle Times. “We’re not interested in seeing exemptions and accommodations that depend on human memory.”

Read more from the Times: “Boeing wants FAA to exempt MAX 7 from safety rules to get it in the air

Jan. 12 Deadline: Ratification Bonus (LOA 23-002) and Your 401(k) Elections

This article originally appeared in last week’s edition.

The second installment of the Ratification Bonus (RB2) is on track for payment no later than Jan. 24. This bonus will include 17% Company non-elective contributions.

The deadline for modifying your 401(k) employee and/or employer contributions on Fidelity NetBenefits is 1500 Central on Jan. 12. If you do not make any changes to your special election 401(k) contribution percentages before then, your existing special election percentages on file at Fidelity will be applied to your lump sum cash payout. If you have not done so already, we recommend consulting with your financial planner and tax advisor to make any desired adjustments.

One of the more frequent questions the APA Retirement and Benefits Committee receives is how various Internal Revenue Code regulatory limits interrelate to affect pilots’ 401(k) personal planning. Click here for an explanation of how the 2024 limits can assist with your 401(k) planning. As American Airlines highlighted in its recent update on this topic, the IRS limits the amount of compensation that is eligible for 401(k) contributions. The compensation limit for 2024 is $345,000. Once an individual receives $345,000 in eligible compensation during the year, no further employee or employer contributions can be made to your 401(k) account.

Participate in Concourse Conversations in January

This is an updated version of an article that originally appeared in last week’s edition.

MIA Chair CA Thomas Copeland and MIA Vice Chair CA Anne Witcher talked to pilots on Thursday.

APA’s National Communications Network is hosting four editions of Concourse Conversations in January. On Thursday, they were at MIA along with Domicile Chair CA Thomas Copeland and Domicile Vice Chair CA Anne Witcher. Here is the rest of the schedule:

  • DFW on Jan. 9 from 0800 to 1500, across from C24 next to Pinkberry
  • JFK on Jan. 11 from 1500 to 2100, near the elevators by Starbucks
  • LGA on Jan. 12 from 0500 to 1200, at the bottom of the escalators in the AA terminal

These volunteers, along with your National Officers and Domicile Officers, will be in the terminals to gather feedback from the pilot group. They look forward to meeting with as many pilots as possible. If you’re scheduled to be at one of these airports on the listed dates, please take a few minutes to stop by and talk.

The Hotel Selection Process

This is a new message from the APA Hotel Committee.

We often get questions such as “Why aren’t we at that nice hotel across the street?” or “How did we end up in this hotel?” To offer transparency, we wanted to explain the process.

A lot of effort goes into the company securing a contract with a hotel in a market. American Airlines has a department that handles all the markets we lay over in, and they break up the markets among five hotel specialists. Those specialists are the ones who source the market and are responsible for securing contracts with the hotels. A contract between AA and a hotel typically lasts two years. As contracts are nearing expiration, AA must source the market again and select new hotels or chose to renew with the incumbent property.

About four months before needing a new contract, the AA specialist will reach out to APA and APFA to see if we are interested in renewing with the incumbent or resourcing the market. Sometimes, we are not given a choice – the market must be resourced due to a vast rate increase or because the hotel is not interested in renewing. In these cases, the market specialist will send out requests for bids to other hotels, and APA will also request to add additional hotels to the sourcing we feel would be good for our membership. Often, more than 30 hotels are sourced for one market.

Unfortunately, hotels often do not respond to the requests for bids or say they are not interested in crew business. Click here to find out why.

Deadhead Travel: FOM Prohibition on Alcohol Consumption Applies

This is a new message from the APA Professional Standards Committee.

Your APA Professional Standards Committee would like to remind you that the FOM prohibits consumption of alcoholic beverages while on duty, which includes deadhead travel to and from work. Also, a pilot traveling nonrev cannot occupy the jumpseat if they consumed any alcohol in the terminal before the flight. Please reference FOM 20.6.

New contract provisions provide upgrades to pilots traveling on A-1 and A-3 listings. Although alcoholic beverages are an amenity in business- and first-class seats, the restrictions of the FOM nevertheless apply. With that in mind, please be sure to remain in compliance with the FOM while traveling to and from training.

Get Educated About Our New Contract

This is a repeated message from the APA Contract Compliance Committee.

The Contract Compliance Committee wants to do everything we can to ensure that all APA members are well acquainted with the 2023 Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Join us on Jan. 11 in LAX for a full day of training on the new CBA. This training will be conducted in hybrid fashion, with members welcome to participate in person or virtually via Zoom.

Please take a few moments before the training to familiarize yourself with the Electronic Document Index. You must be logged in to AlliedPilots.org for the links to be accessible. This Index connects you to a vast array of APA documents that we will reference. It is equally useful in the daily operation as a line pilot, so we recommend you retain the Index for future reference. During the training, it may be helpful to have two screens; one to run Zoom and one to reference these documents.

Help us help you! The Contract Compliance Committee’s goal is for you – the membership – to be informed, educated, and knowledgeable. Every single pilot should strive to be a contract expert or, at the very least, strive for continued learning and engagement. Knowledge is power, and it will assist you in employing and being a watchdog of your negotiated work rules.

Pigs of the Week

APA commends American Airlines’ hardworking aircraft maintenance technicians for their outstanding work. We believe they are the best in the business. When repetitive problems do arise, they’re often due to managerial decisions that fail to properly prioritize tasks and to management’s decision to outsource a significant portion of the airline’s maintenance to offshore, third-party repair stations.

  • In the last month, B737 aircraft 3AW’s cabin temperature control has been written up nine times and has been out of service five times. It was most recently signed off on Jan. 5.
  • UPDATE: After more than three years in storage, B737 aircraft 3AM returned to service in mid-October. It has been written up 25 times, been on MEL eight times, and been out of service nine times for the aft cabin temperature being uncontrollable. It most recently returned to service on Jan. 5 and is restricted to Class 1 maintenance stations.

APA Welcomes Captains’ Leadership Class

This is a new message from the APA Membership Committee.

Click the image for a closer look.

On Jan. 3, the APA Membership Committee hosted a casual dinner for the following pilots who were in Fort Worth for American Airlines’ Professionalism, Leadership, and Mentoring class: Thomas Addison, Paul Ascher, Jason Baker, Jonathan Birdwell, Michael Bixler, Randall Black, Gary Bowles, Brian Campbell, Joel Chambers, Michael Costas, Michael Cranston, Sean Creech, Michael DeWalt, George Goldthwaite, Jeffrey Gordon, Cole Hatch, Benjamin Holland, James Howell, Marshall Huisman, Cassandra Johnson, Adam Jolly, Gerardo Juarez, Jon Kalberer, James Loewen, Jonathan Norman, Wayne Oetinger, Kenneth Orr II, Mark Pebler, Lex Ramsey, George Reazer, Samuel Ross, Robert Senft, Laurin Siivonen-Rowand, Tom Ten Haken, Timothy Wagner, Jonathan Walker, Jacob Wingers, Brian Wood, Tanya Woodall, Jeffrey Yeaton, and Bradley Zimmerman.

Domicile Events

Visit AlliedPilots.org/Calendar to RSVP for any of these upcoming domicile events:

  • BOS: Telephone Town Hall Meeting on Jan. 23
  • DCA: Washington Capitals game on Jan. 16; Contract Compliance training on Feb. 1
  • DFW: AUS Family Awareness dinner on Jan. 11; Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo on Jan. 24
  • LAX: SAN Family Awareness lunch on Jan. 9; IMAX training on Jan. 10; Contract Compliance training on Jan. 11; Domicile Meeting at SoFi Stadium on Feb. 7
  • LGA: Telephone Town Hall Meeting on Jan. 23; Winter Warmer event at the Cradle of Aviation Museum on Jan. 26
  • PHX: Domicile Meeting on Jan. 26

CLT Domicile Election

Election Round ballots listing the following pilots in alphabetical order will be mailed to all CLT members on Jan. 9 and tallied on Jan. 31:

CLT Domicile Chair
FO Russ Blackwell
FO Erik Knauff
CA Dan Scola

The winner will serve as Interim CLT Domicile Chair through Oct. 31.

If you have any questions, contact the APA Elections Department via 817-302-2175 or elections@alliedpilots.org.

DCA Domicile Election

The following individuals have been placed into consideration for nomination and have indicated a willingness to serve, if elected. In alphabetical order, they are:

DCA Domicile Chair
FO Brandon Lightly
FO Chris Wachter

DCA Domicile Vice Chair
CA Timothy Doreen Jr.
FO Thomas Lawler
CA Aaron Webb

The candidates’ resumes will be emailed to DCA members on Feb. 6, when they will also be posted on the Elections page on AlliedPilots.org.

Election Round voting will begin at 0100 Eastern on March 13 and end at 1300 Eastern on April 2.

If necessary, Runoff Round voting would begin at 0100 Eastern on April 10 and end at 1300 Eastern on April 30.

The winners will begin their two-year terms on May 1.

If you have any questions, contact the APA Elections Department via 817-302-2175 or elections@alliedpilots.org.

DFW Domicile Election

The following individuals have been placed into consideration for nomination and have indicated a willingness to serve, if elected. In alphabetical order, they are:

DFW Domicile Chair
CA Drew Coleman
CA William Coogan
CA Bradley Donner
CA James Magee
CA Kenneth Marczak
CA Steven Pacheco
CA Jon Sherrell
CA Brian Smith

DFW Domicile Vice Chair
CA Drew Coleman
CA William Coogan
CA Bradley Donner
FO Julio Gomez
FO Jason Gustin
CA James Magee
CA Kenneth Marczak
CA Andrew O’Hara
CA Steven Pacheco
CA Brian Smith

The candidates’ resumes will be emailed to DFW members on Feb. 6, when they will also be posted on the Elections page on AlliedPilots.org.

When there are four or more candidates for a single position, the APA Constitution and Bylaws call for a Nomination Round that narrows the field to three. Nomination Round voting will begin at 0000 Central on Feb. 10 and end at 1200 Central on March 1.

Election Round voting will begin at 0000 Central on March 13 and end at 1200 Central on April 2.

If necessary, Runoff Round voting would begin at 0000 Central on April 10 and end at 1200 Central on April 30.

The winners will begin their two-year terms on May 1.

If you have any questions, contact the APA Elections Department via 817-302-2175 or elections@alliedpilots.org.

Week in Review

Here are a few recent messages you may have missed.

Are You Willing to Serve?

Each of these national committees or subcommittees has the indicated number of vacancies:

  • Aeromedical Committee (1)
    • Disabled Pilot Awareness Subcommittee (3)
    • Human Intervention Motivation Study Subcommittee (2)
    • Pilot Occupational Health Subcommittee (2)
    • Project Wingman Subcommittee (3)
  • Captain’s Authority Committee (2)
  • Communications Committee (0)
    • National Communications Network (7)
  • Grey Eagles Liaison Committee (1)
  • Jumpseat/Non-Rev Committee (1)
  • Retirement & Benefits Committee (2)
  • Scheduling Committee (5)
  • Training Committee (3)
    • Checkmate (1 on 777 and 1 on 320)

If you would like to serve on one or more of these committees, visit the Member Engagement Portal.

Professional Standards FAQs

Can a previous, resolved submission to Professional Standards be referenced in a future action?
No. A resolved issue cannot be used to support other disciplinary actions. An agreement exists with management that Professional Standards referrals are never part of an employee’s permanent record. Professional Standards volunteers will never be asked to relate any case information in the employee discipline process. Confidentiality rules apply to management also. Once an issue is released to the Professional Standards program, it is as if management “forgets“ the issue ever occurred.

To read all of the FAQs, click here.

Professional Standards’ 24/7 hotline: 817-402-2181

If You’re 50, Join The Grey Eagles

Are you a pilot for American Airlines, at least age 50, active or retired? Please join The Grey Eagles for food, fun, and fellowship. We offer cruises, conventions, monthly luncheons, retirement dinners, professional mentoring, and assistance to surviving spouses – all for a one-time lifetime fee.

Pilot Job Fairs and Future Pilot Seminars

Future & Active Pilot Advisors’ next Pilot Job Fair and Future Pilot Seminar are scheduled for Jan. 12 at MCO. Click here for more information.

Industry News

For more about what’s happening in the industry, be sure to visit the Industry News page on AlliedPilots.org.

Connect with Us: Facebook | Instagram| Twitter| TikTok| YouTube
Contact Us: Phone - 817.302.2272 | Website - AlliedPilots.org