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American Airlines to use nonunion pilots for some test flights, drawing criticism


American Airlines Boeing 737-800 aircraft

Nicolas Economou | NurPhoto via Getty Images

American Airlines this month will stop using unionized pilots to perform certain test flights, a move the aviators’ union argues would reduce the independence of these reviews.

Starting Thursday, American will only assign nonunion company pilots to test aircraft that have been in long-term storage or that have recently undergone heavy maintenance, before customers fly on them. Previously, a group of specially trained union pilots performed the tasks along with nonunion company pilots.

That union test pilot group had shrunk to about six people from 24 in 2016 as some left the union to become company…


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