US Airways Pilots Speak Out On Safety Conditions


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US Airways Pilots Speak Out On Safety Conditions

By Jim Douglas

May 10, 2011 - After numerous lapses in safety protocols at US Airways recently, the Board of Pilot Representatives of the US Airline Pilots Association (USAPA), which represents the airline's pilots, has unanimously called for the immediate termination of the ranking official in charge of airline safety, Vice President of Safety and Regulatory Compliance Paul Morell. 

“Mr. Morell’s responsibility is to the pilots who work at US Airways and the passengers who fly with us, and he has repeatedly demonstrated that he is no longer able to fulfill this duty.” 

"Mr. Morell has repeatedly ignored USAPA’s concerns about the safety of our airline and has shown no leadership in remedying potentially catastrophic situations that face our pilots," said Captain Mike Cleary, president of USAPA.

"As such, we have asked the Company’s leadership and the Board of Directors to act quickly and decisively to terminate his employment at US Airways." 

In its communications with the US Airways directors, USAPA cited 17 specific issues to support its opinion that Morell is derelict in his duties to protect the pilots and passengers of US Airways. "Mr. Morell has ignored or actively dismissed safety recommendations from pilots, despite the fact that the pilots are on the front line and dealing with these issues on a daily basis," added Captain Cleary. “USAPA has reached out to Mr. Morell time and time again, requesting his input and guidance about how to alleviate the many safety issues that face our pilots. 

“At best, we have received a dismissive or tepid response; at worst, complete silence. Our efforts to engage CEO Doug Parker and the Board of Directors on this issue have also gone unanswered, clearly demonstrating that they do not share USAPA’s priority of putting safety above all else. Not one of the 17 specific issues we brought to the CEO and Board has been acted upon or even responded to.” 

"Additionally US Airways' management refused to participate in an external evaluation performed by renowned safety expert Dr. Terry von Thaden, who has performed more than 200 similar evaluations and has never, prior to now, had an air carrier refuse to participate in an evaluation," Captain Cleary continued. "Her results – which indicated safety culture problems throughout US Airways – were dismissed out-of-hand by the Company."


Dr. Sidney Dekker, also a well-respected safety expert who reviewed the results of the evaluation at USAPA's request, noted that, “Most worrying is the extent of the dismissal of the safety culture survey and the suggestion that management has the safety problem pretty much under control.” 

USAPA Safety Chairman Tom Kubik concurs. “Through the safety work conducted by Dr. von Thaden’s team, our pilots voiced their concern about everything from forced on-time departures to cost-cutting measures that erode the safety of our aircraft – and the Company turned a deaf ear to everything we said,” said Captain Kubik. “Mr. Morell’s responsibility is to the pilots who work at US Airways and the passengers who fly with us, and he has repeatedly demonstrated that he is no longer able to fulfill this duty.”

In an attempt to remedy these problems and bring additional attention to the safety infractions occurring on his watch, USAPA has called for the immediate termination of Paul Morell. Any other action by the Company will be viewed by USAPA as insufficient and a direct threat to the safety of the pilots and passengers on US Airways.

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