Pilots Warned of 'Spike' in Safety Concerns at American

Allied Pilots Association describes tools left in wheel wells, lack of maintenance checks
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 17, 2024 4:12 PM CDT
Pilots Warned of 'Spike' in Safety Concerns at American
Smoke from a brush fire rises behind an American Airlines jet as it takes off at Eppley Airfield in Omaha, Neb. on Thursday, April 11, 2024.   (Chris Machian/Omaha World-Herald via AP)

As if you needed more reason to be wary of flying, the American Airlines pilots union is reporting a "significant spike" in safety-related issues. The Allied Pilots Association warned members not to be rushed, intimidated, or "pressured into doing something that doesn't pass the 'smell test,'" in a Saturday memo that described a recent "significant spike in safety- and maintenance-related problems," per Time. It described "tools left in the wheel wells," "an increasing number of collisions between aircraft being tugged or towed," "an increasing number of items left in the safe area near jet bridges," the "removal of overnight maintenance checks," and "pressure to return aircraft to line service to maintain on-time performance due to a lack of spares," among other issues, per NBC News.

In response, American Airlines said its safety program involved collaboration "with the FAA and all our unions, including APA, to further bolster our strong safety record and enhance our ever-evolving safety culture." In a Monday update, APA President Capt. Ed Sicher said the union discussed the issues with senior management earlier this month and would now be involved sooner in the airline's safety risk assessment process, which "determines the need for, and adequacy of, new or revised risk controls," according to American's website. The APA memo arrived amid intense scrutiny of Boeing and United Airlines over safety-related issues. "While United Airlines is currently under public and government scrutiny, it could just as easily be American Airlines," the union wrote. (More airlines stories.)

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