Friday, July 11, 2008

US Airways pilots' union in dispute with management over fuel issue

USAPA logoThe US Airline Pilots Association (USAPA), the union representing US Airways pilots, claims that the airline's management is taking action against senior captains "for exercising their judgment on determining fuel loads for their flights." At issue is the fact that certain senior US Airways captains, after "adding what equates to approximately 10 to 15 minutes additional arrival fuel on transoceanic flights," were assigned to undergo what the union refers to as unapproved training as a form of discipline.

In a news release issued by USAPA on July 10, 2008, the union notes that the "training" includes simulator instruction which, if not successfully completed, could subject the pilot to a loss of his/her license. USAPA contends that "Under the applicable standards of the Federal Aviation Administration, the adequacy of fuel loads is considered a critical safety determination that should be left to the Captain’s discretion." In other words, the pilot in command should always be free to make the final decision on how much fuel to take on, based on safety considerations, not economics.

"Making decisions on whether or not to hand out peanuts is one thing; mandating fuel loads that our Captains are uncomfortable with is another," said USAPA President Stephen Bradford. President Bradford went on to say, "US Airways pilots are committed to exercising their ‘Captain's Authority,’ granted by the Federal Aviation Administration, and will always ensure a fuel load that will safely fly our passengers to their destination, with all the reserves necessary to handle the contingencies of the flight."