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The pilots union at American Airlines says it's seeing more safety and maintenance issues

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The pilots union at American Airlines says it's seeing more safety and maintenance issues
April 15, 2024
AP

DALLAS (AP) — The pilots union at American Airlines says there has been “a significant spike” in safety issues at the airline, including fewer routine aircraft inspections and shorter test flights on planes returning from major maintenance work.

The union also says it has seen incidents in which tools were left in wheel wells and items were left in the sterile area around planes parked at airport gates.

A spokesman said Monday that union officials have raised their concerns with senior managers at the airline and were encouraged by the company's response.

American, which is based in Fort Worth, Texas, did not immediately comment on the matter.

The safety committee of the Allied Pilots Association said in an email to members Saturday that the union “has been tracking a significant spike in safety- and maintenance-related problems in our operation.”

The union said American has increased the time between routine inspections on planes. It also said American has ended overnight maintenance checks unless a plane is written up for special attention or due for scheduled maintenance and now does “abbreviated” test flights on planes returning to service after major maintenance checks or long-term storage.

The union asked its members to report any safety or maintenance problems.

“We all understand that aviation accidents are the result of a chain of events — often a series of errors — and catching just one of those errors could prevent a tragedy,” the union said in the email.

Dennis Tajer, a pilot and spokesman for the union, said the union wants to be involved earlier in the process of assessing safety risks. He said the union spoke recently with senior management, “and management’s initial response to our request was encouraging. We fully intend to do everything we can to assure that American maintains strong margins of safety.”

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