Pilots’ union sues American Airlines over training dispute
FORT WORTH, Texas — American Airlines and its pilots’ union are fighting over the airline’s plan to change the way it picks pilots who help conduct a key part of training.
Pilots typically train in pairs. The Allied Pilots Association filed a lawsuit Thursday in federal court challenging American’s solution to situations where one of the pilots who is training in a simulator is absent.
The union claims that in such cases, the empty seats are filled by a “check pilot” who is specifically trained to evaluate fellow pilots. American wants regular co-pilots to serve as substitutes.
In either case, another pilot will evaluate the performance of pilots in training. However, the union claims that the presence of a less experienced substitute “seat filler”, could alter the results of critical career evaluations.
The union claims that American proposed the change because it does not have enough pilots to train and hire new pilots. This claim is refuted by the airline.
American says the change will increase the airline’s training capacity and give regular pilots a chance to help by serving as substitutes in the simulator sessions. It claims that the volunteers are highly qualified pilots.
The union is currently in contract negotiations and claims that American is in violation of federal labor law by unilaterally changing its training program. American claims that the union’s contract allows for the change.
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