A Cranky Jackass for the Death of American’s Aviation Safety Action Program

There was some disturbing news out of the Metroplex last week when American’s pilots announced that the Aviation Safety Action Program (ASAP) is dead. It would seem that this program 06_09_12 jackasscontributed greatly to improving safety at the airline, and now, thanks to bickering and stubbornness, it’s gone, and that’s why we’ve got a big fat Cranky Jackass award to be shared by both sides in the fight.

The idea behind ASAP is that it gave pilots a forum for reporting safety issues without fear of landing in hot water. This helped expose safety issues that occurred so that they wouldn’t happen again. It seems that this was a good medium for bringing safety issues to the surface.

Now, it appears that the pilots and American management can’t come to an agreement on how to continue the program, so it’s dead. Way to go. All we can do now is throw out a bunch of blame-bombs to both sides.

From what I can tell, the pilots wanted to have stronger immunity provisions for pilots who report, and American management didn’t like that. In fact, management wanted to have less so that they could take action against pilots who did report reckless behavior. (Would someone really report reckless behavior?) Without a doubt, both of these groups can shoulder the blame to some extent. And it’s naive to think that politics didn’t play a part here.

The pilots and management aren’t exactly holding hands and singing Kumbaya these days. But now everyone is worse off, including passengers. Safety violations will likely go unreported, or at the very least, reported through alternate, less direct channels. That is unfortunate, to say the least, and it shows just how bad labor relations are right now. The fact that the two sides cannot come together for a program that was good for everyone is just downright sad, and it certainly makes me cranky. You’ve both truly earned this Cranky Jackass award.


9 Responses to A Cranky Jackass for the Death of American’s Aviation Safety Action Program

  1. Phil says:

    I’m not familiar with AA’s program, but it seems to duplicate the highly successful Aviation Safety Reporting Program (ASRP) which utilizes the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) as a third party to receive Aviation Safety Reports.

    Pilots (and other aviation professionals) receive total immunity for reporting unsafe and dangerous conditions and procedures. I doubt you’ll find a pilot without a blank ASRS form in his/her flight-bag …

    More info at their website at http://asrs.arc.nasa.gov/

  2. CF says:

    Phil – Yes, I didn’t specify in the post, but that’s what I meant by “Safety violations will likely go unreported, or at the very least, reported through alternate, less direct channels.” It would still seem to me that working directly with management *should* be more effective and get quicker results.

  3. Ron says:

    Somewhat off-topic (but about the same airline): have you noticed that AA is available on Kayak as of yesterday?

  4. CF says:

    Ron – I saw American’s Kurt Stache at the A380 event and he mentioned that they’d be live back on Kayak this week. Good to see it happen, because Kayak was really not helpful without AA on there.

  5. I wonder do most airlines run programs like this?

    If so, American should be force to put on all of their customer facing materials that “American airlines does not have a aviation professional supported system for reporting safety violations.”. Given that programs like this are responsible for a marked increase in aviation safety the lack of such programs should require public warning like cigarettes. Let both parties deal with the reduced bookings that’ll result.

  6. CF says:

    Nick – Not sure if others have the programs, but this sounded like a pilot program so I’m guessing not.

  7. Greg says:

    Most airlines have this program. I am a pilot for an airline that just implemented it recently, and we are already seeing operational safety changes from it.

    Of bigger concern than this specific program dying though is the attack on the program as a whole. People were willing participate it the program because their names remain untied to the events. However, a judge ruled in a lawsuit against Comair that ambulance-chasers now have access to all the information. This is having much more impact on the program.

  8. American Bureaucrats says:

    Why am I not surprised. American Airlines, is very similar with two large airlines that I worked for. They enjoy the corporate talk and how they cooperate with employees. But truly they never walk this talk.

    American from my personal experience likes to throw the blame on any other department or anyone else. It’s all about how their boss will review anything that is said.

  9. Live Wire says:

    That’s not going to help out the airline industries :/
    -Jack

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