In February 2002 the FAA proposed to make it clear that each person who performs a safety-sensitive function directly or by contract for an employer (“including by subcontract at any tier”) is subject to drug and alcohol testing.
Pilot hiring by the four major fractional aircraft ownership operators is far ahead of last year’s, according to figures compiled by AIR. The employment analyst reported that in the first eight months of this year, fractional operators hired 300 pilots, compared with 198 for all of last year. AIR reports that NetJets, FlightOptions, Flexjet and CitationShares employed 3,649 pilots as of August 31.
In another sign of an economic recovery of some measure within business aviation, Cessna confirmed it plans to add 400 workers to its current Wichita employment level of 8,100. An increase in scheduled bizjet deliveries this year and next, along with the introduction of new Citation models, prompted the hiring, a Cessna official said.
Members of the Air Line Pilots Association will be asked their views on the Age 60 mandatory retirement rule for airline pilots. The union, which has historically opposed any effort to raise the retirement age, is now worried that the current financial crisis in the airline industry could cut pilots’ career earnings. ALPA pilots are concerned they might have to work in other professions or as pilots outside the U.S.
Pilots flying helicopters for the French hospitals’ emergency medical services went on strike twice recently to protest low wages and long hours. In response, the operators’ trade association, SNEH, said that it has already addressed the pilots’ highest-priority grievances. Early last month the pilots expressed confidence that negotiations were nearing completion.
Flight Options pilots are only marginally closer to having a negotiated contract nearly a year-and-a-half after voting in a union. The fractional provider’s more than 600 line pilots are represented by Local 1108, the same group that represents NetJets’ pilots.
A spokesman for the North Carolina Department of Labor said the agency would need until at least the middle of next month to finish its investigation into the July 31 death of an American Eagle fleet service clerk at Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU). The accident, which occurred on the RDU ramp between 8:30 and 9 p.m., involved a parked Embraer regional jet and a baggage tug driven by the deceased, 43-year-old Lufuluabo Kalonji.
ARG/US is offering safety training to round out its portfolio of safety-related services. Three courses are available: safety manager training, a three-day course on how to run a safety-management system; on-scene investigation, a three-day course designed to teach operators how to handle accidents effectively; and an aviation auditing course designed to teach the skills necessary to conduct effective internal audits.
In May, Piper Aircraft confirmed that it was looking for suitable sites to relocate the company’s headquarters and to establish manufacturing of its single-engine PiperJet. A significant factor in the move is insurance costs, which have risen tenfold due to hurricanes. “Insurance in Florida is skyrocketing,” said a Piper spokesman.
Both sides claimed victory last month in the latest ALPA organizing effort at SkyWest Airlines after a U.S. district court judge in San Francisco issued a preliminary injunction forcing management to allow the union to distribute pamphlets in non-work areas while refusing ALPA’s request to ban SkyWest from funding its in-house pilot association. Judge Charles Breyer also denied ALPA access to company e-mail, mailboxes and training classes.