American Airlines is looking into a “significant spike” in safety issues raised by a union representing its pilots, according to union president Ed Sicher, amid growing public scrutiny of safety issues in the wider airline industry triggered by missing parts, forced landings and the midflight blowout of a plane door in January.

The Allied Pilots Association, which represents 15,000 pilots working for American Airlines, last week alleged an increase in safety and maintenance problems, including tools being left in wheel wells, increased intervals between routine aircraft inspections, an increase in collisions between aircraft while being tugged or towed, and pressure to return aircraft to service to maintain on-time performance.

“We all understand that aviation accidents are the result of a chain of events — often a series of errors — and catching just one of those errors could prevent a tragedy,” the union said in a statement released Saturday.

The union now has the “full attention” of American Airlines’ senior management about the operational hazards it raised, Sicher said Monday. Management’s initial response has been encouraging, he added.

The development comes as United Airlines reels from multiple safety-related episodes. The pilots union said in its Saturday statement that while “United Airlines is currently under public and government scrutiny, it could just as easily be American Airlines.”

In March, a United flight from San Francisco to Oregon was found upon landing to be missing an external panel. Earlier that month, a United flight headed to Japan from San Francisco was forced to land in Los Angeles after losing a tire following takeoff.

United also reported finding loose bolts on the door plugs of its Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft during inspections in the aftermath of the Jan. 8 blowout, which was on an Alaska Airlines flight involving the same Boeing model. A door in the 26th row of that flight from Portland, Ore., abruptly blew off midflight, leaving a gaping hole in the side of the aircraft.

Although there were no fatalities, the incident heightened safety concerns across the industry.

“Safety at any airline is a shared mission and it’s especially true at American,” American Airlines said Tuesday in an emailed statement. “Our robust safety program … includes a multitude of collaborative programs — and regular touchpoints” with all our unions, it added.



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