The relationship between Pinnacle Airlines and its pilot group turned from frosty to malevolent last month as the Memphis-based regional filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court against the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA). Pinnacle claims that bad-faith bargaining on the part of ALPA has unnecessarily stalled negotiations and resulted in the loss of 17 of its 50-seat jets and a chance to fly 76-seat jets for Northwest Airlines.
Five years of on-and-off negotiations between SkyWest Airlines subsidiary Atlantic Southeast and its 1,700 pilots ended on September 28, when the sides reached a tentative deal on a five-year contract.
Members of the Air Line Pilots Association will be asked their views on the Age 60 mandatory retirement rule for airline pilots. The union, which has historically opposed any effort to raise the retirement age, is now worried that the current financial crisis in the airline industry could cut pilots’ career earnings. ALPA pilots are concerned they might have to work in other professions or as pilots outside the U.S.
Both sides claimed victory last month in the latest ALPA organizing effort at SkyWest Airlines after a U.S. district court judge in San Francisco issued a preliminary injunction forcing management to allow the union to distribute pamphlets in non-work areas while refusing ALPA’s request to ban SkyWest from funding its in-house pilot association. Judge Charles Breyer also denied ALPA access to company e-mail, mailboxes and training classes.
A group of current and former airline pilots rallied on Capitol Hill yesterday afternoon to protest the 45-year-old FAA regulation that forces pilots to leave the cockpit once they reach age 60. The group, flanked by Southwest Airlines chairman Herb Kelleher, Jet Blue vice president Robert Land, Sen. James Inhofe (D-Okla.) and Rep. Jim Gibbons (R-Nev.), said that momentum is building in Congress to change the rule.
The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) recently published Safety Alert 2007-01 to caution pilots about certain aspects of operating in Brazilian airspace. The midair between a 737 and an Embraer Legacy last September over Brazil has highlighted several issues associated with operations in that airspace that might have “significant implications” on safety.
Comair has given its pilots until March 4 to ratify a tentative deal forged with union representatives last month after U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge Adlai Hardin ruled that the group cannot legally call a strike. The agreement came just as management prepared to impose $15.8 million in cost concessions, authority for which Hardin had granted in December. Whatever the result of the pilot vote, ALPA vowed to appeal Hardin’s ruling.
The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) and its international umbrella group, the International Federation of Air Line Pilots Associations (IFALPA), are calling for the release of the two American corporate pilots who are still being detained in Brazil pending the investigation of the September 29 midair collision between their Embraer Legacy 600 and a Gol Airlines 737.
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