The Boeing 737 MAX was grounded by the FAA on March 13, 2019, and based on current information, will continue to be out of service until at least October. The Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association (AMFA) has been monitoring the situation very carefully, and a very important question remains regarding to what degree we will be involved in the process of introducing the aircraft back into the Southwest Airlines fleet and into the Alaska Airlines fleet.
While AMFA leadership has been part of several early 737 MAX meetings with the leadership of Southwest Airlines, we are concerned that our involvement is more about appearance than substance. We are urging the Southwest and Alaska Airlines regulators and manufacturers to involve us more directly as a stakeholder, because we will be responsible for maintaining and repairing the vital operating systems once this aircraft is returned to service.
One immediate step Southwest can take in the right direction is to have AMFA Aircraft Maintenance Technicians, those who worked on these planes every day they were in service, continue to maintain the 737 MAX fleet while it is out of service. The issues with this equipment are too sensitive and complex to outsource to 3rd party vendors with less experience, training, and zero career investment in the airline.
We are pleased our brothers and sisters at SWAPA, the pilot’s union for Southwest, have been actively involved in training exercises and other critical processes, and it is our hope that AMFA’s input and involvement will be invited and received with equal sincerity. We have tremendous experience that we can bring to the table as decisions are being made about the 737 MAX. Please know we are aggressively making the case for greater AMFA involvement to Southwest Airlines and Alaska Airlines leadership, Boeing, and the FAA.
Ensuring aviation safety is a core principle of AMFA, and every member of our craft works daily to provide a safe aircraft for the flying public and the flight crews who expertly fly them to their destinations. It’s more than a job. It’s a mission – one we know you all take seriously.
Thank you for your continued support and we will provide updates to you as pertinent information becomes available in an effort to provide full transparency during this crucial process.