NJASAP expresses concerns regarding ‘chilling effect’ on safety culture
COLUMBUS, Ohio, Jan. 26, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — NetJets Aviation, Inc., a subsidiary of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK.A), recently alleged that by documenting maintenance issues on NetJets aircraft, its pilots were deliberately engaging in a work slowdown. The company also accused its pilots, in a letter to the NetJets Association of Shared Aircraft Pilots (NJASAP) on Jan. 15, of purposely calling in fatigued more frequently as part of the alleged slowdown. NJASAP is the union that represents the 3,200-plus pilots who fly in the service of NetJets.
«At a time when aircraft safety is receiving heightened scrutiny – and deservedly so – it is outrageous that NetJets would question its pilots’ dedication to prioritizing safety and their informed decisions when it comes to documenting identified aircraft maintenance issues or determining they are too tired to safely fly an aircraft,» NJASAP President Capt. Pedro Leroux said. «NJASAP pilots have a long and established history of ensuring that safety is the number one priority as they provide private air travel to owners flying with the luxury carrier.»
NetJets, after alleging that pilots are engaging in a work slowdown in an attempt to negatively impact the Fractional’s operations, did not provide any evidence to substantiate its extraordinary allegations. «The company’s threats about the frequency of pilots reporting maintenance issues on the aircraft they fly represents a grave threat to the safety culture at NetJets – the very safety culture that aircraft owners, passengers and flight crewmembers depend upon for their lives every day,» NJASAP Vice President Capt. Paulette Gilbert said.
The Union believes NetJets’ letter will all but certainly have a chilling effect on the safety-focused decisions each pilot makes throughout the duty day, ushering in new patterns of behavior that could have catastrophic consequences. NJASAP is working tirelessly to prevent such an outcome. «In the event of the unthinkable, pilot decision making and fitness for duty will be matters of intense scrutiny,» Leroux said. «The very nature of aviation leaves zero room for professional pilots to be browbeaten into changing their safety-related behavior. Such a tactic should be beneath NetJets, and NJASAP will not allow this intimidation to go unchecked.»
To that very end, for NetJets to infer that pilots fulfilling their legal duties is unlawful in some way conveniently glosses over what the Union believes is the company’s own inability to overcome sustained challenges that have negatively impacted its maintenance infrastructure. «For almost two years – and well before the start of midterm bargaining – the NetJets COO has lamented to pilots attending recurrent training the hardships posed by increasing maintenance issues and the time-consuming process of addressing them since the COVID-19 pandemic,» Leroux explained. As 2024 begins, the blame for those continuing challenges has found a new source: the NetJets pilot group. «My members and I will not be used as scapegoats because NetJets is unable to solve long-standing maintenance issues,» Leroux said.
The NJASAP Membership is very proud of the direct role it has played in shaping the sterling operational safety record that has long distinguished NetJets and been viewed as one of the Fractional’s most compelling marketing tools. «Rather than attempt to throttle the immediate documentation of maintenance concerns and to call in fatigued when a pilot is no longer fit to perform duties on the flight deck, NetJets should honor our crewmembers’ decisions that have and continue to sustain NetJets’ unprecedented operational safety record,» Gilbert said.
In a letter sent to NetJets CEO Adam Johnson earlier this week, the NJASAP Executive Board asserted the most sensible course of action is to work in partnership to address maintenance, fatigue and other concerns, emphasizing NJASAP is wholly committed to the same and ready to begin immediately. The Union has yet to receive a response.
About NJASAP Founded in 2008 as an independent labor advocate, the NetJets Association of Shared Aircraft Pilots (NJASAP) represents the professional interests of the 3,200-plus pilots who fly in the service of NetJets Aviation, Inc., a Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary. For more information, please visit our websites, www.njasap.com and www.genuineqs.com, or find us on Facebook, www.facebook.com/njasap, Instagram, www.instagram.com/njasap, and Twitter, @njasap.
SOURCE NetJets Association of Shared Aircraft Pilots (NJASAP)