Some pilots say the airlines, desperate to cut costs, are forcing them to fly without enough fuel for comfort.
The airlines say it’s not so, that the pilots are complaining as part of a pressure tactic in contract negotiations.
FAA spokesman Les Dorr says: “We can’t dabble in the business policies or the personnel policies of an airline.”
What? If there’s any question that the business and personnel policies force the personnel to fly without enough fuel, the FAA has a responsibility to get involved. If it’s not true and the pilots are wrong, an investigation will determine that.
It can’t be OK to take a serious allegation that passenger safety is being compromised and declare it none of the government’s business.
As a passenger, I know I’ll feel more comfortable if the pilot decides how much fuel we need – not an accountant or executive in a corporate office. I work in an industry that’s in a financial crisis, and I’ve seen how that can affect decisions about the resources needed to get the job done. (But in my industry, only the computers crash.)
So if the airlines and pilots can’t agree on what constitutes sufficient fuel, I’d like an outside expert to intervene. The FAA ought to settle that issue, or hand it over to an agency that will.