Northwest Airlines pilots last month voted to allow Northwest Airlink partner Pinnacle Airlines to add more 50-seat regional jets to its fleet and open talks over a new pay scale for 70-seat regional jets at the mainline. Part of a concessionary contract that calls for a 15-percent pay cut among pilots and management, the new deal will allow Pinnacle to convert its remaining orders and options on 44-seat Bombardier CRJs to 50-seat CRJ200s. The old scope clause limited to 35 the number of airplanes certified for more than 44 seats.
The new contract still limits capacity among Northwest Airlink fleets to 55 seats, except for Mesaba Airlines’ “grandfathered” Avro RJs. In July ALPA answered Northwest’s proposal to add 70-seat jets to the Airlink fleet with a plan to create a new pay scale for mainline pilots. In a proposal reminiscent of US Airways’ MidAtlantic Airways arrangement, the ALPA plan would create a new division specifically to fly 70-seat jets and grant furloughed Northwest pilots first rights to any jobs created within the new operation.