The Allied Pilots Association (APA), which represents American Airlines pilots, has filed a complaint in a US District Court alleging that American Airlines (American) has violated the pilots' collective bargaining agreement.
The case, which was filed on April 14, concerns the Line Operational Evaluation of a pilot (LOE). The LOE examines if a freshly trained pilot has gained the essential abilities to fill a given duty post on a certain aircraft type in a flight simulator.
Because it does not have enough pilots to fly its planes, American Airlines is in a problem. Its target for 2022 is to employ 2,200 new pilots, and that rate of 180 each month is taxing its human and technical resources.
The airline has roughly 900 aircraft, the bulk of which are narrowbody Airbus and Boeing aircraft. Planespotters.net reports that there are 452 Airbus A319 and A320 family planes and 345 Boeing 737s, including 42 MAX 8s among them. There are 46 Boeing 787s and 67 Boeing 777s left in the fleet.
When a pilot is undergoing an LOE and the regular pairing is absent, this disagreement is about who may fill the second seat in the simulator. Because the LOE is meant to simulate actual flight, the simulator session requires both a captain and a first officer, yet only one is being evaluated.
Another pilot is used as a'seat filler' when the customary pairing is unavailable. The seat filler must respond exactly as they would in a true flight in order for the trip to be as realistic as feasible under often difficult conditions.