View Full Version : Humble Pie for Pan Am

21st Dec 2002, 13:54
Judge: Pilot had wings clipped without just cause

By Christine Gillette
[email protected] (Portsmouth Herald, New Hampshire)

PORTSMOUTH - A U.S. District Court judge has ordered Pan American Airways to reinstate a pilot fired nearly two years ago for refusing to fly in violation of federalflight-time rules.

In a separate order, the judge also mandates the Pease-based airline pay Capt. Don Simonds of Stowe, Vt., back pay and interest for the 23 months since he was fired. The final amount owed Simonds will be determined by an arbitration board, but could surpass $200,000.

The airline, under the court order, could face additional penalties for delaying Simondsí reinstatement, and may have to pay Simondsí legal fees.

"You have a company that tried to force a pilot to violate a safety regulation, and then fired him. Thanks to his persistence and the union, justice was done. It doesnít always turn out that well," John Mazor, a spokesman for the union that represents Pan Am pilots, the Air Line Pilots Association, said Friday.

Simonds was terminated by Pan Am Jan. 3, 2001 after refusing to pilot a flight from Sanford, Fla., to Pease after mechanical problems forced the flight to be delayed past its scheduled departure.

Simonds, who would not comment Friday on the advice of union legal counsel, has told the Herald previously that he would not pilot the flight on the belief it would push him past the Federal Aviation Administrationís limit on the number of hours a pilot can be on duty without resting.

The case became a lightning rod for the national debate over pilot fatigue until the FAA clarified its duty-time regulation in May 2001, affirming the rule that pilots must be able at the end of their shift to look back over a 24-hour period and find eight hours of rest, and that the clock starts ticking based on scheduled flight times.

Pan Am, and an airline industry group, contended that the 24-hour period was based on actual, not scheduled, flight times.

The FAA clarification supported Simondsí decision on Jan. 3, 2001 not to fly, ALPA argued in its appeals of Simondsí firing, first before a federal labor board, which ordered Simonds be reinstated, and later in a suit against Pan Am in the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia after the airline would not bring Simonds back to work.

The court found again for Simonds, and Pan Am appealed and asked for a stay on reinstating and paying Simonds.

On Dec. 6, the court ordered the airline to reinstate Simonds no later than Dec. 10 with full pay, seniority and back pay, or risk a $5,000 fine for every day it delayed and having Pan Amís company officers called into court to explain the delay.

Despite this most recent court order, a Pan Am official said Friday Simonds is not back on the job and the matter of his reinstatement is not resolved.

"There are still appeals pending down there, the case is still pending down there in the courts," Pan Am Vice President and General Counsel John Nadolny said.

Simonds was issued a letter of reinstatement on Dec. 9, according to ALPA, which made the court order public Friday. Mazor said Simonds must undergo refresher training, scheduled for next month while Pan Amís 727 flights are suspended, before he returns to his job.

Mazor said Simondsí case sets a precedent for Pan Am and other airlines.

"What should keep them from doing this again is the prospect that we will haul them back into court and whether itís the same judge or not ... itís a pretty open-and-shut case that companies cannot fire pilots for refusing to violate the 16-hour rule for rest requirement," he said.

21st Dec 2002, 16:48
hmm , guess whos going to fail the following 6monthly checkride after his refresher course..

A few years back SAS dumped a whole class of AB-initios during their following OPC after winning a court case against SAS.. Politics, the bane of aviation:(

21st Dec 2002, 18:27
Good point "LRdriver"

I think the Chief Pilot is still a co-owner of the airline. "TM"

I also wonder how this now leaves the FO & FE who took the flight with another Captain?

Lots of worms in this can!

21st Dec 2002, 19:39
humble or whatever pie...somebody sould be eating a **** sandwich...never mind the pie:mad: :mad: :mad:

21st Dec 2002, 21:07
Humble pie or not...Companies have a responsibility to follow the rules, like it or not (and some definately do not) or else another Little Rock accident will surely occur.
It is NOT that difficult to toe the line...managements bewarned, the courts are watching...:)

22nd Dec 2002, 09:44
Shows how ineffective the FAA is as it has until recently refused to enforce this regulation, endangering countless lives with exhausted flightcrew members at the controls, due to commercial pressure from airlines! Finally the old proviso "circumstances beyond control of the certificate holder" is dead which previously "allowed" pilots to not have had a legal rest period in the preceeding 24 hours...hope PanAm gets the crap fined out of them...maybe some flight department managers should go to jail..

Kaptin M
22nd Dec 2002, 10:13
Why should the airline (and as a consequence the employees and shareholders) suffer in these types of cases.
Find the "manager" who made the decision to "punish" Captain Simonds, and take the costs out of HIS hide.

Much of the friction and problems in airlines today are caused by the non-revenue-productive types who find it necessary to "justify" their positions and salaries by maintaining a high profile, which means kicking the @ss of the workers at the coal face.

It amazes me how small to medium size airlines are able to support legions of office workers, with just a "handful" of aircraft.

The rot set in about 15 years ago, imho, when overnight it seemed that EVERY airline suddenly acquired a "Human Resources" department (AHRDS) :eek: .

23rd Dec 2002, 13:59
Those posts were pruned off into another thread that now resides in Jetblast where the question can be answered at length.

As to PANAM, the owner of the airline had a part in these decisions and I think therefore has proven that he is unfit to run an airline and should have his DOT authority revoked. I feel bad for the other employees, but this is an airline that should NOT be operating as a result of these decisions.


23rd Dec 2002, 14:53
Excerpt from article on Friday September 6th, 2002
This involved the mechanics trying to unionize...
What a way to run a railroad!

Pan Am cuts work force at tradeport

By Christine Gillette
[email protected]

PORTSMOUTH - Add Pan American Airways to the list of airlines cutting personnel in the sagging travel industry.

The airline issued furlough letters at its Pease International Tradeport headquarters and maintenance facility Thursday, reportedly releasing employees across the company from maintenance to flight crews.

"We are making some reductions in force," said John Nadolny, Pan Am general counsel and vice president. "They are expected to be temporary, to adjust to the seasonality and slowness of business. At this point, we donít know the duration, we hope that everything turns around."

Nadolny would not say how many workers were being released, nor from which departments, but some airline employees who did not want their names published estimated at least 10 percent of jobs were being cut at Pease alone, not including cuts at other Pan Am centers like Sanford, Fla.

Employees also said that workers were laid off from Pan Amís affiliate, Boston and Maine Airways, which also has operations at Pease.

Pan Am is the only airline that operates regularly scheduled flights from Pease.

The workers who lost their jobs Thursday say they will receive no severance pay other than their last paycheck and perhaps their remaining vacation pay.

"It sort of ticks me off because I was there from Day 1. We brought in the first aircraft, we painted the hangar floor. Thereís a lot of me that went into that place," said Bruce Kelley of North Hampton, a lead mechanic with the airline since it opened at Pease nearly four years ago. "To walk out the door with a, Ďwell, see yaí ... Itís just a sour taste in your mouth. Itís a complete feeling of not being appreciated by the people you work for or your efforts."

Kelley said more than 500 people worked for Pan Am at Pease until Thursday, and estimated at least 10 percent were furloughed.

"We were told today they were basically going to park a couple of their planes for a couple of months," Kelley said. "If they fly fewer planes, they need less crew."

Another worker who did not want his name published said Pan Am has been running its routes with about nine Boeing 727s.

Kelley said heís received no indication if or when he or any of the other furloughed workers will get their jobs back.

"All they told us in the letter is we were on furloughed status, but there was no way to know the duration of it," said Kelley, who, like the other workers let go Thursday, was notified in a letter distributed by a superior. "I really doubt very much theyíre going to call any of us back. And if they did, Iíd be very surprised if they had much of a turnout."

The furloughs come shortly after some employees tried unsuccessfully to unionize, according to another laid-off worker who did not want his name published.

"Thereís a lot of people here who have families who have lost their jobs," the worker said. "I really donít know why. All of a sudden, the union didnít go through, and now itís just gone nuts."

With the layoffs in the maintenance department, said the worker, about 25 mechanics are left to support all of Pan Amís 727s, "which isnít much; itís like a ghost crew."