Voluntary Error Reporting Dropped

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Pilots at American Airlines, Delta (the nation's two largest carriers), and Comair have opted out of the Aviation Safety Action Program (ASAP) that allows them to self-report mistakes without disciplinary action, because it might not be working that way. Safety advocates believe the program has helped uncover and resolve potentially dangerous situations before they caused damage or loss of life. But according to The Associated Press, at American, the company has broken faith with the program's intent and has punished pilots who inadvertently allowed lapses in safety and then reported them through ASAP. So, the pilots, backed by the Allied Pilots Association, sought changes to the program's language to assure their protection. Union representative Kevin Cornwell told the AP that his members will not accept a system that "labels our pilots as reckless." Meanwhile, a representative from AMR (American's parent company) has said management prefers to leave the provisions programs as is, saying that NASA's safety reporting system, ASRS, already addresses the pilots' concerns. The short-term result is lack of participation in ASAP by the pilots and a heap of criticism for both the airlines and pilots from a slew of safety experts.

Acting FAA Administrator Bobby Sturgell called it "disheartening," while Bill Voss, president of the Flight Safety Foundation, told USA Today, "There are at least two sides to every story, but I couldn't care less about either. Safety systems do not belong on the bargaining table. There is simply no excuse."