Now Reading
American Airlines Wants to Train its Pilots in the Middle of the Night, Pilots Yawn

American Airlines Wants to Train its Pilots in the Middle of the Night, Pilots Yawn

American Airlines is planning to carry out pilot simulator training in the middle of the night in four-hour stints as the Dallas Fort Worth-based airline goes on a pilot hiring spree that is stretching its training facilities to the limit.

The plan to bring pilots in at gone midnight through January 2022 has, though, hit one important snag – the Allied Pilots Association (APA) which represents pilots at the airline says the graveyard shift training sessions are in breach of its contract.

AA disagrees and hopes to roster new hire pilots for qualification training on the late-night sessions. After slashing its headcount at the height of the pandemic, American Airlines is now trying to get 440 pilots trained and online by the end of the year.

Next year, the pressure on AA’s training facilities won’t have any let-up as the carrier looks to onboard as many as 1,000 pilots. In addition, the airline still needs to complete recurrent training for its pilot workforce.

Dennis Tajer, a spokesperson for APA fears American is taking advantage of new hire pilots by rostering them the so-called E sessions.

“Our new hires are on probation, so they are taking advantage of that unrepresented class of pilot, and that’s a horridly challenging time to try to train, even for our pilots going through qualification training,” Tajer told Bloomberg (subscription).

The E session will take place at American’s training facilities in Charlotte and Fort Worth and in a memo to pilots, the carrier said they would only account for 5 per cent of planned sessions. The airline has previously used E sessions and they are a tempory solution.

American Airlines is waiting for more state-of-the-art aircraft simulators to be delivered and in the meantime, the airline is also hiring simulators from CAE, as well as Boeing and Airbus.

Even if the graveyard sessions are legal, the union doesn’t believe they “are a good idea”. Nonetheless, American Airlines has to get its pilots trained. Unlike many other companies, airlines operate training sessions for pilots and cabin crew 365 days a year and there is little wiggle room when additional courses need to be rostered.

View Comments (6)
  • They should throw money at this issue. AFG and other sim companies have facilities nearby many AA hubs. Heck, the AFG facility in Ft Worth is blocks from AA training center but this is mainly used by Spirit and other airlines. Also, it’s not unusual for pilots to go in the middle of the night to get sim time.

  • Other airlines do this already. Not a big deal. Also, why would it be problematic to train pilots and not but not for them to fly at night once they pass their sims?

  • It’s one thing to support and defend one’s contract. It’s quite another simply to be obstructionist in the news media when your company is hurting.

    Just ask any number of unions who are gone because they helped murder their employers.

  • EVERY training center does this, and has for probably as long as there have been simulators. Sims run 23 hours a day…we call that “efficiency”

  • It does seem rather absurd to complain about sim training in the middle of the night, when so many pilots, who fly almost exclusively overseas are used to flying all night. Husband is a 787 pilot, and it is extremely rare for him to fly during the day. Most of his showtimes are 6:00 pm, and after. HIs show times when in training are quite early in the morning. Yes, the life of a pilot is not a whole lot different than a shift worker, in respects to sleep times. That being said, if the company needs, and wants, to do training outside of contract requirements, then they need to negotiate that. Currently AA Pilots are working on under a contract that expired 2 years ago, and now, with a new CEO coming in, Robert Isom, they have brought the bean counter to oversee the company’s negotiations. How much is it worth it to you, Bob?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

© 2023 All Rights Reserved.

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to with appropriate and specific directions to the original content.