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Thu, Jan 29, 2009

Airline Reinstates Pilot Safety Program

ASAP's Back At Delta... Thanks To Northwest

Delta Air Lines signed a memorandum of understanding this week with the Air Line Pilots Association and the Federal Aviation Administration to reinstate its Aviation Safety Action Program (ASAP) covering pre-merger Delta pilots.

ASAP was created to improve flight safety, by removing the threat of disciplinary action against pilots who identified potential hazards and human errors. Individual flight crew members are encouraged to submit reports to identify safety concerns, with the data used to develop corrective action and to educate the appropriate parties to prevent a recurrence of the same type of event. 

Pilots at Delta nixed ASAP in November 2006, along with their counterparts at Delta's Comair regional subsidiary. Pilots blamed the failure on management retailating against pilots who reported safety violations, under what was designed to be a program free of such actions; unions at American and US Airways have subsequently dropped their ASAP programs, as well.

"ASAP has proven to be a valuable tool in helping to spot possible safety problems before they become accidents," said US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "We hope the other carriers will follow Delta’s lead and realize just how critical voluntary programs are to commercial aviation safety."

Reinstatement of ASAP at Delta can be attributed to the carrier's recent merger with Northwest Airlines... whose pilots remained part of ASAP. The revised program mirrors that existing program.

"Reestablishing our pilot ASAP program has been a top priority for Delta, ALPA and the FAA, and this agreement is a testament to the partnership and hard work of these parties on behalf of all Delta pilots," said Steve Dickson, Delta senior vice president – Flight Operations, and a B767ER captain. "Safety always will be our highest core value, and programs like ASAP are critical to identifying, understanding and correcting safety events to ensure a safe and reliable work environment and travel experience for our employees and customers. With the current safety reporting programs at Delta, and those from Northwest that we will continue to support, Delta is now the largest user of voluntary safety reporting systems, with six programs covering nearly 17,000 employees."

Captain Lee Moak, Chairman of the Delta Master Executive Council, the Delta chapter of Air Line Pilots Association, Intl. that represents 12,500 Delta pilots added, "Through a safety-focused approach and a professional working relationship with Delta Flight Operations and the FAA, we were able to mutually craft a solution to immediately begin the process to reinstate ASAP at Delta. I’m confident that Delta’s new ASAP will set the gold standard for ASAP programs throughout the airline industry."

In addition to the reinstated pilot ASAP, Delta has formal ASAP programs in place for its dispatchers and Technical Operations employees, and other safety reporting programs for flight attendants and ground employees. Delta also will continue ASAP programs currently covering pre-merger Northwest pilots, dispatchers and load planners, and other safety reporting programs for its other workgroups.

FMI: www.delta.com

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