The Master Executive Council (MEC) of the Spirit Airlines pilots` unit of the Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA) met Sept. 16-18, 2003 to elect new officers and discuss growing concerns about the manner in which the company schedules pilot crews for overnight flights.
The Spirit MEC elected Capt. Bruce Vonada its chairman and Capt. Rick Neibert its vice chairman. Current secretary-treasurer, Capt. Gene Rosenthall was re-elected. These new officers will serve a two-year term beginning Oct. 1, 2003.
In addition to its regular business, the pilot representatives discussed Spirit Airlines` continued trend of scheduling a number of its pilots to fly morning flights after these pilots have flown overnight or “red eye” flights. They also expressed concerns about monthly pilot schedules that contain assignments of day flights followed only a few days later by overnight flights followed only a few days later by day flights.
“The tendency to schedule trips in this manner is disruptive to a pilot`s circadian rhythm,” said current MEC chairman, Capt. David Sytsema. “Our pilots would like to work more closely with the company`s Crew Scheduling Department to arrange pilot trips that provide a greater margin of safety. Many other U.S. airlines managements work together with pilot representatives from their unions to ensure that pilot schedules optimize both efficiency and safety, and we encourage our company to consider that same kind of partnership.”
Headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Spirit Airlines is the largest privately-held airline in the U.S. Spirit`s website is www.spiritair.com.
Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world`s largest pilot union representing 66,000 pilots at 42 airlines in the U.S. and Canada. Visit the ALPA Web site at http://www.alpa.org/