October 10, 2019
September was an extremely busy month for AMFA across the system.
This month we were proud to our new Horizon Air members in Seattle, Portland, Paine Field, Spokane, Redmond and Boise. It was a great privilege to welcome these new members face-to-face at all the stations, and we had the opportunity to answer many questions regarding the transition period. In the coming months, will be calling for nominations from your workgroup for airline specific representatives. Make sure you have a personal email address on file with AMFA so that you will receive election and referenda details from AMFA; voting materials will not be sent to your company email. Please monitor the Horizon Air News and Updates page of the AMFA National website for most up-to-date information for your group.
The AMFA-Alaska Airlines (ASA) Transition Agreement was reached; however, we are still awaiting the National Mediation Board for a Single Carrier status determination. Please monitor the Alaska Airlines News and Updates page of the AMFA National website for further details.
We are monitoring the recent AD from Boeing on 737NG pickle fork inspection that affects your Alaska Airlines fleet. The most cycled -700 aircraft has just over 31,000 cycles, well below the findings on the other industry 800s. 26 Alaska aircraft are impacted: fourteen -700s and twelve -900s. The cycle leader in Alaska’s -800 fleet has approximately 18,000 flight cycles.
The games continue by Southwest Airlines (SWA) senior executives. As you recall from my last report, we were unable to reach an agreement with Southwest Airlines in mediation and, therefore, federal litigation between AMFA, personally suing individual employees or former officers, and the company continues. This should be a time when both parties start the next chapter of working together as mutual stakeholders in the future of SWA. Instead of suing their own AMTs, SWA Executives should focused on resolving the long list of major concerns in their MX tech-ops house, which is rapidly growing, to name a few: FAA finding of degradation of safety culture in the SWA maintenance department; FAA finding of Southwest continues to have taken no remedial action of violating 14 CFR § 119.65(d)(3) by pressuring its AMTs to not document maintenance discrepancies; another FAA investigation report stating capitulation of airworthiness and a culture of fear and retribution in the work place; the continued pending DOT-OIG audit and investigation of SWA maintenance department; the unprecedented decline in ASAP reports due to disciple by SWA management, which is jeopardizing the entire SWA Safety Management System (SMS) mandated by the FAA; new recent inspection on the Boeing 737 pickle fork inspections; MAX software suggests further delays in returning to the sky in 2020; MAX Relaunch AMT training; and lastly, SWA Flight 1380 fatality and GE Blade public hearing. The pending litigation only continues the “us against them” mentality and fosters hostility between mechanics and management. Sadly, these strong-arm tactics and bad business decisions should have some consequences for the decision maker. Please review the secure “Legal Updates (Members Only)” page of the National website for further information on legal developments.
AMFA has been following the Boeing 737 MAX 8 situation very carefully over these past months. In addition to attending MAX meetings and working with those engaged in the process to ensure the aircraft is safe prior to relaunch, we have worked internally to identify issues that affect our members. We have met with SWA to address our concerns and make recommendations. One of the most critical issues identified is the lack of MAX 8 training our members receive on this aircraft. This goes back to the initial launch of the aircraft at SWA where very few mechanics on shift were properly trained, and this ultimately led to poor reliability and a tarnished initial impression of the aircraft and the Company.
Fast forward to today, we are concerned that very little focus has been placed the issue of training at SWA; moreover, the situation has actually gotten worse. It is essential that all aircraft mechanics, inspectors, and maintenance controllers receive MAX 8 training prior to the aircraft relaunch, to encompass both CBT-based and hands-on training scenarios. AMFA recommended a course of training that we believe would ameliorate this specific issue. The hands-on portion is an integral aspect of this, as many of our members highly value being able to actually touch the aircraft as a part of any training program. We are cautiously optimistic that the SWA training will be initiated for our goal of maintaining the highest trained mechanics, inspectors, and maintenance controllers in the industry. We strongly feel this is an essential piece of the puzzle to the level of reassurance that the MAX 8 is safe to fly.
Because of our experience and concerns revolving around the MAX at SWA, we are also proactively addressing the future implementation of the aircraft at ASA. We believe AMT MAX training is essential prior to recertification of this aircraft by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Boeing, and should be accomplished prior to relaunch. We considered our mutual interest to build back confidence in the MAX aircraft when we crafted our recommendations to Southwest Airlines on this matter, and our goal was to further promote and achieve that confidence with the AS AMTs as well. We also wanted to shed more light on the maintenance training aspect, and the fact that AMTs are direct stakeholders in this situation. Not only should pilots and flight attendants be trained, but it is paramount that AMTs are also properly trained and confident with the MAX aircraft prior to relaunch of this aircraft.
Reminder: All Members, the FAA Hotline reporting system may be utilized to report concerns of aviation safety: https://hotline.faa.gov/. We must realize our grave responsibility as FAA certified airman to exercise our judgement on the airworthiness of aircraft and equipment. We, therefore, pledge unyielding adherence to these precepts for the advancement of public safety of aviation and for the dignity for our craft.
The NEC continues to conduct station visits and GMM visits throughout the system at Alaska Airlines, Horizon Air, and Southwest Airlines. The NEC also continues our efforts with assistance from our social media vendor to achieve the best communication practices to reach our membership. Tools are in place for our members to acquire latest news and updates regarding current events throughout the Association via the National website, AMFA App, and social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Thank you for your continued support in this membership outreach and communication campaign.
As always, I ask you please be safe and to stay engaged with your union and officers. For more carrier specific updates and further information regarding AMFA and the airline industry, please visit the AMFA National Website at www.amfanational.org. Our most determined efforts will only succeed with your continued support and participation – please stay informed.