Or Lack Of It...
This past week has been one of the
hardest ever for Northwest Airlines... and leaders of the carrier's
unit of the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) said Thursday NWA
management's decision to cancel hundreds of flights this week was
due to management's operational decisions that created inadequate
pilot staffing for the summer months.
ALPA tells ANN management at Northwest recently attempted to
place the blame for flight cancellations on pilot sick calls -- an
excuse, the union says, which does not adequately explain the over
10 percent rate of flight cancellations that the company has
experienced during the past week.
The reason for flight cancellations is that Northwest Airlines
is understaffed, the union maintains.
"Northwest's flight cancellations this past week are due to
insufficient staffing," NWA ALPA Spokesman Capt. Monty Montgomery
said. "Pilots are not responsible for management's lack of
foresight as it pertains to staffing the airline."
Representatives of the pilots' union forecasted the pilot
shortage and advised management months in advance. Unfortunately
for all NWA shareholders, this forecast was correct resulting in
unnecessary hardships being placed on all NWA employees and
NWA management could have prevented the staffing shortage by
expeditiously recalling the 400 furloughed pilots not yet back to
work. Instead, management decided to run the airline beyond redline
during the summer months resulting in the current flight
"First, management blames the weather and that didn't work, so
now they are trying to blame the pilots," Capt. Montgomery said.
"It is unfortunate management continues to seek a confrontational
relationship with Northwest employees."
ALPA has even offered to
work with Northwest management concerning the staffing problem --
which, the union says, is the direct result of operating so lean,
that there is no slack in the system -- thus increasing the
possibility that the operation will continue to break down.
In addition, Northwest pilots have been flying at their personal
and contractual maximums since last year, increasing stress and
fatigue, according to ALPA.
"We are the ultimate investors in Northwest Airlines. Our
careers and the futures of our families are tied to the success of
this airline," Capt. Montgomery said. "Northwest pilots will
continue to focus on safety and work hard for the success of our