ASAP program potentially ending at AA

Minuteman

“Dongola”
Much-lauded American Airlines safety program likely ends next month
By TREBOR BANSTETTER
tbanstetter@star-telegram.com

A much-lauded safety program for American Airlines pilots will likely end next month, airline officials said, after a breakdown in negotiations to renew the program.

The Aviation Safety Action Partnership, which began in 1994, allows pilots to report safety-related incidents for investigation without fear of discipline from American or the Federal Aviation Administration. Aviation experts have praised it as an effective way to identify potentially dangerous safety lapses that otherwise might go unreported.

The current program was scheduled to expire in January. The FAA extended it as American negotiated a renewal with the Allied Pilots Association.

But those talks haven’t produced a new program, despite several extensions. Pilots have argued that in some cases, the company unfairly disciplined pilots even when an incident was accepted for review under the program.

Airline executives countered that the program has worked well. Airline officials proposed creating teams to review every event and offered to eliminate discipline for lapses that did not involve reckless behavior by the pilot.

On Friday, the company informed pilots that the FAA would grant no more extensions.

"Proposed changes to address [union] concerns have not been accepted," airline officials said in the memo to pilots Friday. "Absent an agreement, as of Oct. 13, you will no longer have the protections afforded by the ASAP program."

American officials said they would establish a confidential hot line for pilots in lieu of the program.

The program’s demise would come after months of intense scrutiny of safety on the nation’s airlines. American grounded 300 MD-80 jets for emergency inspections in April after the FAA raised concerns. Southwest Airlines, meanwhile, was fined a record $10.2 million for allegedly flying Boeing 737 planes without inspections for potentially deadly fuselage cracks.

Relations between American and the pilots union have deteriorate in recent years. The two sides have been negotiating for a new pilot contract since 2006, but little has been achieved at the bargaining table.

http://www.star-telegram.com/business/story/905657.html
 

meyers9163

Well-Known Member
Too bad to see. But if management wants to pursue and discipline pilots when they are doing self reporting makes one wonder about their management team. I would like to see what situations in which the union speaks of where pilots were disciplined but I have to take their word for it. And if the management team really wants this, perhaps they should not use it to discipline pilots for participating in a self reporting program.
 

Nick

Well-Known Member
After having read several thousand ASAPs at another airline I am indescribably disappointed and baffled at this decision.

Safety of flight at American Airlines will simply not be as good as it could have been if the ASAP program were to continue. That is a fact and it is that simple. They aren't even pretending to put an emphasis on safety by eliminating such a successful program.
 

Firebird2XC

Well-Known Member
After having read several thousand ASAPs at another airline I am indescribably disappointed and baffled at this decision.

Safety of flight at American Airlines will simply not be as good as it could have been if the ASAP program were to continue. That is a fact and it is that simple. They aren't even pretending to put an emphasis on safety by eliminating such a successful program.

Considering that the AMR management team and the APA pilots are still deeply entrenching and fighting over contract issues, this is no surprise.

By letting a program that shields pilots from government enforcement fall by the wayside because of the contract issues, management has officially let it be known that they're willing to let their pilot group bleed until AMR gets its way.
 

Orange Anchor

New Member
The public should respond to this by telling American that if they do not value safety above in-house strife, they do not deserve passenger confidence.
 

Firebird2XC

Well-Known Member
The public should respond to this by telling American that if they do not value safety above in-house strife, they do not deserve passenger confidence.
Yeah like that'll happen.

Most people have no idea what's going on.

The public's take would be this, anyhow:

"So these pilots were screwing up and getting away with it? We don't need this program, we need pilots losing their licenses!"
 

Orange Anchor

New Member
Yeah like that'll happen.

Most people have no idea what's going on.
The public's take would be this, anyhow:
"So these pilots were screwing up and getting away with it? We don't need this program, we need pilots losing their licenses!"
True. Most people still cling to a blame-game mentality and they expect something (perfection) from others while hanging onto being fallible themselves. This does not however diminish the need to educate the public that this program is not about absolving error but finding weaknesses in the system.

Many believe, including here, that if one builds a good enough system, safety will prevail. Yet the more complex the system, the more the failure points. It is not the system that provides safety but the people in the system who are able to adapt to events that can not even be predicted.

If you do not know it is broken, you are more than likely not going to address the failure. Losing ASAP, although it is a subjective information source, is a setback and the fact that the public may not be aware of its benefits of ASAP does not validate doing nothing.
 

Velocipede

New Member
Without ASAP, serious safety issues go unreported. Blame both the pilots AND the managers for "playing politics" with this program.
 

gtpilot

Well-Known Member
It seems not all ASAP programs are actually shielding the pilot - I've been told if the FAA can confirm the incident by any outside source, you will still get a letter of warning under our program and then you're not protected for a number of years. If other programs are similar, NASA forms are just as effective.
 

Orange Anchor

New Member
It seems not all ASAP programs are actually shielding the pilot - I've been told if the FAA can confirm the incident by any outside source, you will still get a letter of warning under our program and then you're not protected for a number of years. If other programs are similar, NASA forms are just as effective.
Some confusion. IF the carrier and the employee group is in the ASAP and the incident is reported in the ASAP, it should be entered in the program. IF the incident is NOT reported and is not entered in the ASAP, the individuals may be subject to violations.

Regardless (or if you wish, 'irregardless') if there is an incident or cause for concern about an event, file an ASAP if your airline participates and file a NASA. They are obviously separate files.

The ASAPs are not meant to shield from 'egregious acts' or 'willful misconduct' or where there is illegal behavior. The intent is to find out where mistakes are being made and why so the individuals can freely talk about what happened and debrief as to why it happened.

The Comair crash in KLEX was not the first erosion of the shield of ASAP data. It also happened in USAir 427 but the release was very controlled and only certain reports were allowed. In the ComAir case, the idiot judge remarked that the ASAP was an effort to shield the company from lawsuits and said the ASAP reports were not shielded from discovery.

In other countries where not everyone is trying to make millions off the dead or to 'send a message', it is a crime to bust the shield of the ASAP. Unfortunately, our do-nothing congress has no interest in real safety but rather dog and pony shows like the one recently convened. All flash, no substance.

Meanwhile you will continue to see more erosion of ASAPs and also FOQA data until Congress acts. Not much chance of that.
 

gtpilot

Well-Known Member
Some confusion. IF the carrier and the employee group is in the ASAP and the incident is reported in the ASAP, it should be entered in the program. IF the incident is NOT reported and is not entered in the ASAP, the individuals may be subject to violations.
I'll admit, I need to dig into the program to confirm this, but I've been told by multiple people that if we file an ASAP and anyone else reports the incident (willful misconduct or no), you will get a violation on your record.

For example, ATC says 'Climb maintain FL230, turn heading 240. Captain sets 240 on the heading and the FO sets FL240 by accident. ATC screams at you and files a report for an altitude violation. Captain and FO file with ASAP, however, both will end up with a violation on record (letter of warning) because ATC filed a report.

Guess I need to dig through and confirm now...
 

gtpilot

Well-Known Member
In reading our LOA, the agreement to withhold disciplinary action applies only to the company and does not extend to the FAA....is this a normal part of the ASAP program?
 

SlumTodd_Millionaire

Evil Landlord Capitalist
gtpilot, all ASAP programs are different. It sounds as though your program is based on the bare-bones ASAP program as written by the FAA. That's basically what we have at AirTran also. It's not very good. At PCL, we had an ASAP MOU that provided a lot of additional protections. Most major airlines and some regionals also have those extra protections. It sounds like you don't. Which carrier do you work for?
 

kellwolf

Piece of Trash
Yeah, what Todd said. For example, if I busted an altitude on a flight accidentally and filed an ASAP. I'm good. The FAA can attempt to violate me, but as long as it's accepted into the program (and the only ASAPs I know of that weren't were blatant lies to cover up someone doing something stupid), I'm covered. The ASAP program here is one of the best things we've got going for us, and it's hugely helpful in learning and safety issue. It's allowed us to spot trends before they become problems which have resulted in changes to manuals and checklists. Without the ASAP program, those might have gone unreported, resulting in something REALLY bad.
 
Top