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AA Pilots Defend Maintenance Delays

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FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – The back and forth continues between American Airlines and its pilots, with the pilots union firing the latest shot.  Pilots say they are not disrupting American operations with trivial maintenance requests.  Instead, they claim AA has neglected to perform routine maintenance on its aircraft, leading to legitimate problems.

“American Airlines pilots are trained professionals who are responsible for flying their passengers safely around the world every day. The list of unresolved maintenance issues grows every day on each of the aging aircraft we operate, and we can’t ignore serious maintenance issues that could easily turn into safety risks. Our pilots will not compromise safety, ever,” said Allied Pilots Association President Keith Wilson, in a written statement.

That statement also listed some of the maintenance-related issues recorded by pilots over the past few days.  They include:

•    A left engine generator failed in flight
•    An aircraft sustained a lightning strike
•    The ground proximity warning system failed in flight
•    A partial flight control failure
•    Weather radar test inoperative
•    A fuel leak on right wing main tank
•    The left landing light was damaged
•    A wind shear warning failure
•    A brake anti-skid failure
•    The engine start valve failed to close

American Airlines released a statement in response to the union’s accusations.   It says in part, “No one at American is questioning normal maintenance write-ups and we must ensure that our safe operations continue each and every flight.  However, for the past 14 days, we have seen unprecedented pilot maintenance write ups, many at the time of scheduled departure, which is having an impact on our operation.  We sincerely apologize to our customers for any inconvenience this is causing.  Our focus remains on getting our customers where they need to go, and we encourage customers to go to aa.com for a full list of all we are doing to address their concerns and meet their needs.”

On its website, American says it will now offer passengers an opportunity to standby for earlier flights and stock its flights with more food.  Customers whose flights are delayed for more than two hours will have the opportunity to receive a refund, change their travel plans on American for free or fly another airline.

Earlier this week, American announced it would voluntarily scrub up to two percent of its flight through October to better accommodate passengers.  The company blames an increase in pilot sick calls and last-minute maintenance requests for the disruption of its operation.

Pilots say there is no organized intentional effort to impede American operations.

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