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American Set to Unify Flight Operating System Oct. 1

Unification allows full fleet integration among aircraft, pilots and dispatchers.

Behind the scenes of American Airlines, another computer system is set to realign, marking another milestone in their merger with US Airways. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the airline is moving all of their aircraft to a single flight operating system on Saturday, October 1.

Unlike unifying the computer reservation system, which was completed in October 2015, moving the aircraft to a unified flight operating system allows the airline to streamline their flying workforce and interchange aircraft and personnel as needed. Prior to the unification, the airline’s pilots and aircraft were split between three different systems, depending on the legacy and history of the previous aircraft.

“Pilots will have the ability to fly any aircraft they are qualified for, at any crew base throughout the system,” Kimball Stone, vice president of flight operations for American, told the Philadelphia Enquirer.

While the move is the latest step in full integration for the legacy carrier, not all parties are happy with the transition progress. The Allied Pilots Association (APA), the union representing American’s pilots, are expressing their frustration in being excluded from the process. In an open letter to American executive management, the pilots accuse leadership of breaking away from mutually agreed-upon procedures in order to expedite the flight operating system unification. As a result, they claim pilots and union administrators have been left to “work around the clock” to fix the problems.

“We want to see a successful merging of the three operations and stand ready to contribute our unique skills to that effort, Cpt. Dan Carey, APA president, wrote in the open letter. “In return, we ask that management discontinue its rush to failure.”

In order to ensure a smooth transition, American announced the switch would begin on the evening of Friday, September 30. On Saturday, the flight schedule will be reduced to ensure that the transition works without incident.

[Photo: Ralph Lauer/EPA]

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