US Airways: Pilots' Union's Claims of Intimidation "Outlandish"

Categories: Travel
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Following our post yesterday about a claim by the US Airways pilots union that the airline tried to intimidate a pilot into flying a malfunctioning plane, the airline got back to us and calls the claim "outlandish."

On Friday, the US Airways Pilots Association ran a full page ad in USA Today outlining a June incident where the airline allegedly tried to intimidate a female pilot into flying a malfunctioning plane.

According to the union, a total of six pilots refused to fly the aircraft before the airline agreed to fix the problem.

The female pilot who first refused to fly the plane, the union claims, was forced off the plane and "met by [the airline's] corporate security and escorted out of the airport."

Read the full story here.

The airline disputes the union's allegations, saying they're the product of bitter contract negotiations. Complicating things, US Airways COO Robert Issom says, is an intra-union seniority dispute that's been going on for several years.

"[Friday's] move is simply the latest in a series of misguided efforts to put pressure on the company as part of those negotiations," Issom says.

The airline forwarded New Times a statement from the Federal Aviation Administration regarding the June 16, incident.

See the FAA's statement below:
The FAA manager assigned to the US Airways certificate reviewed the June 16, 2011 incident. The APU [auxiliary power unit] shutdown the aircraft experienced is a failure that pilots are well aware can happen and that they are trained to recognize. The battery apparently was depleted by attempts to restart the APU. Flying an aircraft with an inoperative APU is not an unusual event and normally poses no safety issues when proper limitations are applied. The captain simply chose to exercise her pilot-in-command authority of not accepting an aircraft. Our information indicates that US Airways followed their approved MEL procedures, and all maintenance procedures were followed in accordance with the operator's approved maintenance program. We found no violations of federal aviation regulations.


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14 comments
Guest
Guest

Legal doesn't always mean safe. Especially at 37,000 ft over the North Atlantic at night.

JD
JD

The Pilot in Command has the right and duty not to fly if she has reason to believe it was unsafe. It is not clear what initially transpired between her and Maintenance, but it went downhill all the way. She seemed to have lost it, so did the management.

I won't trust the mental state she is in to ever safely fly an aircraft anymore with this airline. 

Management better come forward with a solid plan of action to salvage the relation with the Union, otherwise the airline won't last too long.

It will become another case study of how the Union brought down a mighty corporation.

guest
guest

The FAA found no violations because after no pilot would fly the plane maintenance fixed the problem.  I also saw where Isom said that it was a successful flight & the plane performed "flawlessly."  Well, again, yeah after the problem was fixed it should perform flawlessly.  What about the 11-12 hour delay that could have been cut in half or more had they started on the problem the moment it was recognized?

Wade Wells
Wade Wells

Union vs management is becoming more polarized, so that they stop listening to each other.  It sounds like management will assume from the start that every pilot safety concern is actually a negotiating tactic, not a valid safety concern. That management prejudice worries and scares me - it increases the likelihood of an incident if valuable input is deprecated.  If, God forbid, there is a safety incident, will management say that it was a union negotiation tactic, too?

flyboy
flyboy

For whatever reason, perhaps known only to them, what was a fairly decent airline known as America West and then merged into US Airways...US Airways is nothing but a trash airline and company...the company board and CEO ought to be dismantled and perhaps some criminal charges brought.

Tmsmither
Tmsmither

What part about being escorted off the property in an effort to prevent information from being passed on to the new crew is misleading?What part about the second crew's refusal to fly this aircraft do we not understand?What part about going over the pond with all systems working is unclear?When management lies about it .   WOW

Blackbird
Blackbird

Why then did Corporate Security escort the Captain off the Property. Were they trying to hide something? Did they give an explanation?

Tmsmither
Tmsmither

Its AW board and CEO my good friend.

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