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August 5, 2016IM -
The president of American Airlines’ pilots union says he’s alarmed by a new management initiative to speed up some flight plans, stating in a letter to union members that it could “compromise the margin of safety.” Some of the union’s pilots report flight plan manipulation to keep crews under Federal Aviation Administration caps that restrict time spent on duty, a practice called “pilot pushing.”
Capt. Dan Carey, newly elected president of the Allied Pilots Association, says American Airlines’ operations are clearly over-scheduled. He alleges management is now resorting to improvisation and cautions that pilot pushing leads to “rush to comply” behavior. This includes instructing pilots to increase air speeds, including in some cases where there is forecasted turbulence, using different flight routing, and decreasing taxi times by using paths and speeds that deviate from “what would normally be considered rational.”
American Airlines refuted the claim, noting that any attempts to speed up flight plans are done within federal limits and with the consent of the plane’s captain.