With allegations that pilots are slowing down American Airlines' flight operations by filing last-minute maintenance requests, one American pilot asked the FAA for a little clarification on when he should or should not write up a maintenance issue.
In a response on Thursday, the FAA said it is "conducting specialized Operational Risk surveillance" on American's operations but that it stepped up its oversight when the carrier filed for bankruptcy, not necessarily because of the labor spat going on right now.
"The Federal Aviation Administration began stepped-up surveillance of all aspects of flight operations at American Airlines when the company filed for bankruptcy protection, as the agency has done under similar circumstances involving other air carriers," the FAA said in a statement. "Our primary focus is on ensuring that the company's financial situation does not negatively affect the safety of the traveling public. These efforts will continue until the situation is resolved."
The increased oversight will continue throughout American's bankruptcy and expects the airline, pilots and mechanics groups to all abide by FAA rules, the agency said.
Keep reading for the full letter from the FAA sent to the pilot.
The AMR Certificate Management Office (AMR CMO) holds FAA oversight responsibility for the American Airlines air carrier operating certificate. This office is actively investigating all aspects of the current events, as well as the attached letter sent by American Airlines to the APA Leadership.
The AMR CMO is currently conducting specialized Operational Risk surveillance on American Airlines operations. This surveillance is focused on frivolous maintenance discrepancy reports, misuse of the approved Minimum Equipment List, lack of adequate maintenance, time escalations, mishandling of aircraft trim settings, crew rest and duty time, disruption of airport ground operations and traffic flow, and falsification of maintenance discrepancy release statements.
This specialized surveillance will remain in effect throughout the bankruptcy process. In short, the CMO is conducting surveillance on all regulatory requirements which are expected to be followed by the airline as well as the maintenance and pilot groups.
If you feel you have been coerced to refrain from reporting maintenance discrepancies, we advise you to report any instance of such to the AMR CMO for investigation. We also encourage you to use the Aviation Safety Action Program to report such instances.