After filing a grievance, Flight Options pilot union leaders met late last week with representatives of the fractional providers’ parent company, Directional Aviation Capital (DAC), and Flexjet, which DAC purchased late last year. DAC plans eventually to consolidate Flight Options and Flexjet into a single Part 91K fractional and Part 135 charter operation, according to DAC principal Kenn Ricci.
However, Flight Options’ pilots, who are represented by IBT Local 1108, would have to ask the National Mediation Board for one-system declaration. Doing so would also trigger a vote for the union to cover all of the combined companies’ pilots, a thorny issue since the Flexjet pilots are non-union and earn between 16 and 24 percent more than their Flight Options peers. Therefore, Ricci doesn’t think the union will ask the NMB for one-system declaration until it believes it has enough votes between the two groups to retain the union.
“Pilots are key to our success,” Ricci told AIN. “We’re not asking for pay cuts, and we’ve tried to preserve salaries. Normally, we’d try to delay a single operating system, but we want [it], the sooner the better. But it could be bad for the union, since they might not have enough votes.”