Ricci Extends Olive Branch to Flight Options Pilots

 - August 12, 2008, 11:03 AM

The previously chilly relations between Flight Options management and pilots appear to have thawed considerably just three weeks after the Cleveland-based fractional provider named company founder Kenn Ricci chairman and Mike Silvestro CEO and ousted former CEO Michael Scheeringa. Flight Options and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 1108, the union representing the pilot group, yesterday announced “an unprecedented expression of mutual cooperation.” The two parties “have pledged to put their past differences aside and instead dedicate their efforts to achieving common goals.” In March 2006, the Flight Options pilots voted to be represented by the IBT and have been seeking their first contract ever since. Ricci, who recently joined the pilot negotiations, said, “Our employees are our most precious resource… As such, we intend to offer our pilots a long-term contract that recognizes them as the best in the industry.” Pilot union president Mat Slinghoff believes the pilots’ “first collective bargaining agreement is now within reach.” Meanwhile, Flight Options reinstated the 70 pilots terminated in May, complete with back pay, as the company “sees new growth opportunities ahead and needs the extra pilots to expand,” Ricci said in a weekly announcement to employees.