The head of the American Airlines pilots union has demanded compensation for his members who have lost out on flying hours because of the worldwide grounding of the Boeing 737MAX. American Airlines has a fleet of 24 MAX8 variants 737’s which have been grounded since March 13 following two deadly crashes involving the aircraft type.
Calling for American Airlines to share any compensation payout the airline wins from Boeing over the debacle, Allied Pilots Association President Captain Eric Ferguson described the effects being felt by his members as “real and calculable.” A similar deal has already been struck between Southwest Airlines and its pilots.
American Airlines says the grounding of its 737MAX’s is currently leading to around 140 cancellations every day. The airline has extended cancellations through December 3 but remains hopeful that the FAA will give the 737MAX the all-clear by the end of the year. American has been forced to extend its cancellation period on at least three occasions.
Ferguson claims many 737 type-rated pilots at American Airlines have lost out on flying hours because of the cancellations – As a result, their wages have also dropped. Even once the FAA gives approval for the 737MAX to start flying again, Ferguson says it may take American at least 30-days to prepare the aircraft and pilots for a return to operations.
Boeing is currently negotiating with 737MAX operators around the world on individual compensation payouts, with some airlines even suggesting they would make a switch to arch-rival Airbus.
Airlines are awaiting FAA approval of a software fix and updated pilot training before they can return the 737MAX to commercial operations. While US-based carriers remain confident they can get they 737MAX fleets back in the air before the end of 2019, regulators and some foreign airlines say they don’t anticipate the aircraft type flying again until next year.