By JOAN LOWY and CHRIS KAHN 07.17.08, 8:25 AM ET
The pilots union for US Airways said Wednesday the airline is pressuring pilots to use less fuel than they feel is safe in order to save money.
US Airways (nyse: LCC - news - people ) Captain James Ray, a spokesman for the US Airline Pilots Association, which represents the airline's 5,200 pilots, said eight senior pilots and the union have filed complaints with the Federal Aviation Administration.
The union also paid for a full-page ad in Wednesday's USA Today addressed to "our valued passengers." The ad accuses the airline of "a program of intimidation to pressure your captain to reduce fuel loads."
Ray said soaring jet fuel prices have sent all the airlines scrambling to find ways to cut the weight of airliners because the heavier the plane, the more fuel the plane burns. US Airways, based in Tempe, Ariz., has recently removed movie players, redesigned its meal carts and replaced glassware with plastic to cut weight.
Jet fuel has surpassed labor as the airline industry's greatest expense.