Judge allows United changes opposed by pilots

AP News
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Posted: Sep 29, 2011 3:56 PM
Judge allows United changes opposed by pilots

A federal judge ruled on Thursday that United Airlines can go ahead with changes in flying procedures that its pilots' union had opposed because of safety concerns.

United said it would implement the changes on Friday as planned.

The Air Line Pilots Association at United had said in a court filing on Monday that they weren't given enough time to get used to the new procedures for situations such as what to do when caught in a strong wind gust, or which pilot handles which jobs in the cockpit. The union had argued that a 54-minute slideshow of the new procedures was inadequate.

Judge Sterling Johnson Jr. in Brooklyn, N.Y., denied the request for a temporary restraining order. He wrote that there is no evidence that the Federal Aviation Administration is falling short in its monitoring of the airline's training. His order also said that the new procedures would not cause irreparable harm to the pilots _ a legal threshold for a restraining order.

United and Continental airlines are run by United Continental Holdings Inc., which is combining them into a single airline. That means merging operating procedures used by pilots as well as flight attendants and ground crews.

Wendy Morse, a 777 captain and head of the United branch of ALPA, said the union would like to work with the airline on "industry leading training and safety practices as was formerly the case at United to correct this unrealistic and inadequate training scheme."

United Continental spokeswoman Megan McCarthy said its flying procedures are "widely used within the industry, were developed working closely with Boeing, and are reviewed and approved by the FAA."

Shares of the Chicago-based company fell 28 cents to $20.48 in afternoon trading.