Regionals Update: ALPA foils US Airways' plans for CRJ705

 - August 4, 2008, 12:06 PM

Unable to convince the Air Line Pilots Association to accept further regional-airline scope-clause concessions, US Airways has converted its firm order for 25 Bombardier CRJ705s to positions for 70-seat CRJ700s and assigned the airplanes to Phoenix-based Mesa Air Group. Originally scheduled for first delivery to wholly owned US Airways subsidiary PSA Airlines early next year, the CRJ705–a planned 75-seat, 82,500-pound mtow version of the 86-seat Bombardier CRJ900–exceeds the 75,000-pound-mtow and 70-seat limits imposed on US Airways’ regional affiliates. Although it agreed to an exemption for the Embraer 170 and 175, ALPA’s US Airways division refused to grant further concessions for the Bombardier jets. “We already have 235 grievances pending against the company for improper administration of our contract,” said ALPA spokesman Roy Freundlich. “The company could have easily converted these to CRJ700s and placed them at a wholly owned carrier, but they decided to act in a punitive manner and give them to Mesa. We’re not going to respond to that kind of behavior.”

Notwithstanding ALPA’s firm stance, US Airways insisted that the CRJ705 fell within the limits of the scope clause, but claimed to drop its argument in the interest of expediency. “We finally concluded that we must agree to disagree,” said US Airways Express president Bruce Ashby. “Since we must continue to run the company and implement our business plan, the end result was the decision to use Mesa.”