US Air Threatens Allegheny Closure

 - February 2, 2007, 4:54 AM

US Airways last month demanded a “forthcoming” agreement on merger terms between employee groups of wholly owned subsidiaries Piedmont and Allegheny Airlines in return for an “orderly” transition from two separate entities into one. The airline issued the ultimatum when it announced its intention to consolidate the operations of the units and transfer Allegheny’s fleet of 41 de Havilland Dash 8-100s to Piedmont’s certificate by March 31. Under the merger plan, Middletown, Pa.-based Allegheny would still host a “shared services organization” that employs about 60 people to handle payroll, benefits, recruiting and accounting for US Airways subsidiaries, along with a 112,360-sq-ft heavy maintenance base that employs roughly 180 mechanics, dispatchers, schedulers and administrative staff.

However, said the airline, if the unions cannot reach agreements in short order, it would simply transfer the Allegheny assets it needs to Piedmont’s base in Salisbury, Md., and sell what remains in Middletown, a scenario it implied would result in the loss of many more jobs. In either case, some job losses will inevitably accompany a planned reduction of turboprop operations. “Turboprop aircraft will still have a role in our network, but it is inefficient to have two wholly owned Dash 8 operators with duplicative overhead functions for a shrinking part of the company,” said US Airways Express president Bruce Ashb