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Pilots union claims American Airlines is violating fatigue policies

American Airlines’ pilots union filed a labor grievance against the carrier, alleging that American has ignored rules to keep tired pilots from flying.

In a letter sent by Allied Pilots Association president Dan Carey, he says the carrier has violated the fatigue risk management system processes and has failed to provide safe flight operations by reducing fatigue in the airline’s operations.

“These violations are ongoing, relate directly to safety and pose a risk of massive, imminent, and irreparable harm and/or death of employees, passengers, and on-the-ground personnel,” Carey wrote in the grievance letter.

Carey says the carrier should “cease and desist” the practice of crew schedules who threaten or give missed assignments designations to pilots who say they are too tired to fly according to federal regulations.

American Airlines spokeswoman Kristen Foster said that safety is the first consideration in every decision the carrier makes.

“We have a strong partnership with the APA and our work with them includes a robust process to resolve issues that are important to our pilots and important to American.” Foster said. “We just received formal notice of the APA’s concerns, and we will work within the process we have in place to engage in a dialogue to understand the concerns raised.”

Last summer, the union said management was “pilot pushing,” asking pilots to voluntarily extend their government-regulated duty time to keep operations during the busy summer schedule on time. Pilots reported that managements was increasing airspeeds near an airplane’s limit, decreasing taxi times by using speeds that are not normal, and using flight routes that were in conflict with usual air traffic control routing.

Andrea Ahles: 817-390-7631, @Sky_Talk