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Squawks & HeadlinesFAA warns American pilots about perceived slowdown.

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FAA warns American pilots about perceived slowdown.

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The FAA has stepped in to warn the American pilots that their on time performance has suffered since 9/14/2012 when talks stalled. Why is the FAA involving themselves in this contract dispute? Maybe there's a safety reason for the on time performance. (airnation.net) More...

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cm5299
Chuck Me 1
Can anybody point me to the actual letter or comment from the FAA? All I see are a bunch of labor/management posturing in the articles with one reference to a comment in response to a pilot question.

Where or what is the actual warning?
Derg
Roland Dent 1
The FAA could have created this as a decoy because a lot of the people they..the FAA.. employ are not happy about being intimidated into decisions which conflict with the reason the wanted to work for the FAA. Most of the FAA staff want to SERVE and protect the public and employees. This whole move could be a constructed diversion.
gearup328
Peter Steitz 1
I will say that if every FAR concerning the airworthiness or operation of the aircraft or the physical and mental condition of the crew were followed to the letter (absolutely to the letter) there would be delays on every flight. These American crews are probably simply following the rules.
flyboy97222
Jason Rhew 1
Miss use of the minimum equipment list!?! WTF? If you don't use it they pull your ticket.
gearup328
Peter Steitz 1
Here's a link to an article from Air Nation........interesting.

http://airnation.net/2012/10/03/faa-regulatory-capture/
Derg
Roland Dent 1
Think this is about slots and separation issues.
gearup328
Peter Steitz 1
Yeah, the warning is probably in a letter to the union cc the management. Some POI is of the opinion that pilots are intentionally slowing down, looking for something to write up or falsifying records. Blame it on the pilots. Like I said before, pilots are soooooo over regulated that if the rules were followed with 100% compliance, the flight would never leave the gate. Captains could bring down the airline if they wanted. They don't. They just don't want the blame when the airline is mismanaged. Chapter 11 is a reorganization, not liquidation. American even got approval to order a bunch of new jets and evidently got financing. You can bet the FAA is all over the company, looking into every aspect of their operation. This is a good thing. Just don't jump on the pilots and the union. BTW, I am not a big union pilot. I wish we didn't have to have unions in such a high level profession.
bentwing60
bentwing60 1
If the pilot hadn't been there, the accident wouldn't have happened. That POI was acting under the direction of somebody. You are so correct, no flight would occur without the compliance of a Captain. The politisation of all forms of endeavor has become the bane of modern man. The captain is the sole responsible party. When did you ever hear of a politician that was the sole responsible party.
Donovan16
Don Thomson 1
Hmmm. Good point. HAD to be sometime well prior to Nixon's presidency. <tongue in cheek>
bentwing60
bentwing60 0
I would say Peter that as a fairly seasoned fellow ATP, if you are a knowledgeable captain for a major air carrier, you could delay or cancel almost any flight. I will say that it is not in their best interests for job security, but there is no longer a covenant between labor and management at AA, and there hasn't been in quite some time, and job security for an airline has become so tenuous as to almost make the term obsolete. The history of Big Brother stepping in in labor disputes speaks for itself. The definition of a good politician is one who stays bought!
preacher1
preacher1 1
I got to chime in here with my 2cts worth. Both you guys are right. The union says there is no formal job action going on. Like one comment below, they could care less about AA, all they want is that power and $ and while there are probably some of these guys that are doing their best, there are always a few hotheads that can't see the forest for the trees and have that "I'll show them" attitude. Sad part is that with scheduling and equipment utilization at a max these days, it doesn't take but a few of these to screw up the whole system and I think that is what we are seeing. I won't get into all the gory details but a few years back, the Pilot's took a hellacious pay cut to help the company and got no appreciation from management for it. I can't see any kind of soothing coming from management on this deal. I don't know what the answer will be but somebody is going to have to give somewhere or there won't be anything left.
Derg
Roland Dent 1
The current management has failed. That will change.
preacher1
preacher1 1
Well, not yet, my friend. You only fail when you don't succeed. Now, Horton took over last fall, stated on record that to him, BR was the answer, and then filed in November. Unless another extension is asked for and/or granted, they will come out in December. It is then that we will see their success or failure.
bentwing60
bentwing60 0
Preacher, the pilots pay cut was matched by FA, ground crew/anybody non management and you saw it. The bonuses never stopped in order to retain this management group that was clearly superior to the rest of the industry and was required to pull the airline out of its quandry. The concessions never stopped, nor did the bonuses. This is not a small time belief, nor is it a small time action. I don't blame them, nor would I want to be in their shoes. Pick a side or vote blue. I for one will fly anything but American in the immediate future.
Derg
Roland Dent 1
"in order to retain this management group that was clearly superior to the rest of the industry and was required to pull the airline out of its quandry."
Well said....most of 'em can't add up or communicate.
preacher1
preacher1 1
That, unfortunately, is what they are trying to accomplish. Problem is in the end, if they are sucessful at it,there will be no airline, hence no job. You are very correct about the cuts and the bonuses. Problem is, they didn't really pull it back to the top or they would not be in BR now, and we would not be seeing all this mess.
bentwing60
bentwing60 1
So, does that make them the elite management group, et.al.
preacher1
preacher1 1
I don't know if it makes them elite or not as they were all there as understudies, but Crandall and Arpy dumped this mess in Tom Horton's lap, when either one of them should have done what he is having to do now. My understanding is that Horton & crew wanted to do it earlierbut got shot down by the previous CEO's, so we'll see.
gearup328
Peter Steitz 1
Boy, you two are all up there in the ethereal realm of airline top management. These men and women are not ordinary executives---they're Gods!!!! Ha. Let's compare Southwest's top team with the others. Now there's something to talk about. They are very pilot oriented. They realize that the airplane and crew ARE THE COMPANY. They are the final product that the public sees. Everything else that goes on is all "backroom" stuff. I know everybody has to do their job, and do it well, but what the public sees is at the gate and in the air.
bentwing60
bentwing60 0
Peter, you have a keen eye for the obvious, as Southwest's management speaks for it self. As for the comment, the old guys have seen the movie,TWA, Panam, Braniff/Harding Laurence, Continental, merger ad infinitum. If your point is to tout southwest, your preaching to the quire. As for the ethereal realm, I fly for a living and thus, hope to continue my trade in an adversarial environment.
gearup328
Peter Steitz 1
Thank you, old bentwing60. I retired in '03. I saw all of that. Southwest? OK, I have lots of old young buddies flying for them. They seem to like it. I really don't know because that's not who I flew for. I do know that I attended a CRM and Safety class taught by them at their training center and was just blown away. Aviation has really changed and is still changing really fast and faster. Now the former old companies are called "legacy" carriers. Shows you how they're thought of. If you can't adapt, you're a gonner.
preacher1
preacher1 1
Peter: your comment about Southwest "They are very pilot oriented. They realize that the airplane and crew ARE THE COMPANY". To go with that realization, in the early days when they first started up, didn't some or all of them fly? It really doesn't matter. People perform when they get treated like human beings and the evidence speaks for itself.
Derg
Roland Dent 1
Yeah Wayne I have a pal who works for 'em..he says the same.
Pileits
Pileits -1
Darn FAA they have NO business getting involved in private enterprise. Departure and arrival time have nothing to do with the FAA.
jatherton
John Atherton 4
God forbid that it might be out of concern for the revenue-driving passengers...
RRKen
I actually believe the FAA has standing as far as a regulatory body, and it's desire to ensure safety for employees and passengers. However, I feel it's action has a chilling effect upon matters between the pilots and company under RLA.
Donovan16
Don Thomson 2
Its been a rather interesting evolution of how the FAA came into existence, and its "areas of responsibility". The Federal Aviation Act of 1958, placed the FAA as the agency responsible for Air Traffic Control, which includes ground control, arrival, departure, enroute, etc.

Later the FAA was placed under the D.O.T (its predecessor the Civil Aeronautics Board was within the Department of Commerce)

So, while I hate Governmental "Alphabet Agency" sprawl, the very origins of what is now the FAA, began at the urging of the commercial aviation industry in 1926, and has morphed into what it is today.

As with all things Governmental/Bureaucratic -- it grows and grows -- kinda like the snowball rolling downhill. <chuckle>

Once AMR filed Chapter 11, FAA scrutiny (and public media sensationalism) has increased. My understanding, the increase in FAA scrutiny is typical for an Airline when it is under Ch 11 restructuring. (Eastern, TWA, UAL, and believe Delta... all were under the FAA magnifying glass, ostensibly for any number of reasons.)

It is a tough time for AMR, and APA...
blake1023
blake1023 1
The FAA is helping private industry, in this case! If it was up to the union, the airline will literally stop until they get what they want. How is that going to benefit anyone?? The union could give a damn about the pax, or the operation.
bentwing60
bentwing60 1
How do you see that any different than the management agenda?
blake1023
blake1023 2
Management isn't flying the airplanes... I thought the union doesn't like when management takes flying away from line pilots. Explain to me, how you can operate an airline with 3400 daily flights, with only a handful of management pilots. If management doesn't care about pax or the operation. Why don't they just close up shop? Why doesn’t management just say, you know, screw the union, why waste our time and money, screw the pax, and screw the 87k employees we hire worldwide. If its managements agenda to "disrupt the operation", then why is AA is operating?
Derg
Roland Dent 1
Because they are a key part of the USA economy and they have global footprint. They collect taxes and create wealth. They are holding a big chunk of machinery that is valuable and a whole lot of people in that corporation have a vested interest.
bentwing60
bentwing60 -1
If you don't see something political in this, then you might give it a second thought. The FAA has no jurisdiction over labor relations vis a vis the air carriers and never has. The race is on!
Donovan16
Don Thomson 1
I could be easily wrong, as I've never been directly involved in a Chapter 11. My understanding is (feel free to correct me) is that the Bankruptcy Court and the Trustees of the Creditors that AMR is being shielded from, interests "must be protected and maintained", so that materially, as little damage to the assets for the creditors is done.

The labor negotiations are part of the whole restructuring (hence the judge voiding the contract of the APA while under the Ch 11 umbrella). Because airline safety (in all its ramifications) and the smooth operating of airport/air traffic IS under the FAA, and damage to AA's operations and materials affect the creditors' interests, they increase their degree of scrutiny. Not ostensibly in support of AMR or against the Pilots, but in the interest of the creditors.

However that is all THEORY -- the reality is the parties constantly jostle for position within the system. And every action has its own SPIN put on it.

Its a MESS at best.
bentwing60
bentwing60 1
If you think that this administration cares about the creditor/shareholder, you might review the GM dissolution. The shareholders lost totally, the creditors lost some and the unions won fait accompli. This is about buying votes, no more, no less. If I sound like a political broken record, come visit my airport, KADS, and listen to the sounds of silence!
bentwing60
bentwing60 1
I fly airplanes for a living without a law degree,at my peril, and thus am not able to speak to the issues of what the legalities are. I am however, fairly certain that bankruptcy does not alter the scope and clause of the FAA charter, and thus my comment. As the current administration has chosen to ignore the constitution and civil law, I am somewhat sceptical of any government intrusion in a business endeavor. The FAA is mandated to assure a safe operating system, not a smooth one. Absolutely have never heard of the FAA sticking their noses into a previous BR proceeding in the airline bidness. Cite me if I am wrong. The courts skewered the AA pilots union for an "illegal" work action several years back and they are still paying for it but the FAA does not have jurisdiction without ignoring their charter. Wouldn't be the first time under this administration.
Donovan16
Don Thomson 1
FAA has a history of "increased scrutiny" regarding a number of major airlines under Ch 11 protection, and/or in the immediate period around it.

I'm not saying its right or wrong. Just sayin' that this is NOT unprecedented. Hell, I just want to arrive alive, on-time, and professionals receive a professional wage for professional performance.

Here's a link -- http://archives.californiaaviation.org/airport/msg32133.html
Derg
Roland Dent 1
Bent you are way too modest and that really annoys me. everytime you command that airplane you do it within the framework of good practice..well I guess you do...This as you say "the FAA does not have jurisdiction" indeed the FAA is there to PROTECT THE PUBLIC and UPHOLD THE LAW...that will be tested for sure IN COURT>
gearup328
Peter Steitz 1
Yes, and just have an accident or incident at your company and see how the inspectors come out of the woodwork.
Donovan16
Don Thomson 1
I worked 25 yrs in Emergency & Critical Care. Never KNEW how many vermin could come out of the woodwork, and the CYA version of medicine which has followed..

Then again, I actually never had a crash & burn with 250 souls on board. But have owned my own practice, and the regulations and scrutiny are plentiful. Not to mention red-tape, government regulations and a great <cough> tax system. <sigh>

EVERY profession has its own version.

But I digress... Damn, what was the topic? <chuckle>
Derg
Roland Dent 1
I agree Don but if you get empire builders who hire yes men the public sees it for what it is...then you lost the good faith and goodwill of the public. What these managers want is a totalitarian paradigm just like the old Soviet system was...a bunch of thugs using intimidation.
abowland
Andy Bowland 0
The FAA can and will do an inspection when their is financial distress, change in scope of the carrier (growth, down sizing) and labor unrest.

http://fsims.faa.gov/PICDetail.aspx?docId=3BCABEEBE110351386257A02004D1AC6

I'm sure the warning that was sent was only an announcement of this inspection and that the FAA has increased their oversight and surveillance of the entire operation...it is not only flight operations, maintenance, in-flight (flight attendants), training, dispatch and even infrastructure department such as tech pubs, HR, etc are all getting a good hard look.