Pilots Feel the Pressure to Speed Up Flights
The Allied Pilots Association (APA), which represents American Airlines pilots, released a letter stating that management has been pressuring pilots to rush certain flight procedures in an effort to keep up with summer's busy demands.
Pilots have reported to the union that management is compromising safety by increasing airspeed, re-routing flights, and lengthening work days.
According to the New York Times, American Airlines had a higher number of delays and cancellation rates in May compared to other major airlines.
APA’s president, Capt. Dan Carey, wrote in the letter, “This erosion of the safety margin cannot be tolerated. American Airlines’ operations are clearly over-scheduled, and management is now resorting to improvisation.”
The union states that murky lines are being drawn; in order to comply with FAA regulations on hours worked, the union claims that management is “manipulating flight plans” by increasing airspeed under non-optimal conditions, shortening taxi times, and making unusual re-routes.
Carey wrote that these changes “are used to make a flight appear legal when in reality it’s not or is, at best, on the ragged edge.”
American Airlines responded to Carey’s letter with by issuing the following statement: “Safety and regulatory compliance are always the first and foremost consideration in every decision and in every facet of our company – and we are fortunate that our pilots are the best in the business. Our integration and associated changes are complex and we remain committed to working together with all employee groups to ensure this ongoing process is thoughtful, smooth and orderly."
Robert Mann, a former American Airlines executive, warns pilots of such dangerous practices. According to Mann, if an unrealistic flight plan is signed by a pilot and an accident occurs, the pilot’s career would be jeopardized.