Flexjet chairman Kenn Ricci called the recent union decertification vote at OneSky, the combined pilot groups at Flight Options and Flexjet, “an epic opportunity” for the company and its employees. “We now remove the barrier of the union and can directly interact with employees,” he said. “It also makes acquisitions easier going forward since we won't need to get union approval.”
In fact, Ricci told AIN that the company has already addressed longevity for transfer pilots; increased first officer compensation; upped Phenom pilot pay to be on parity with that for its Learjet pilots; increased voluntary overtime compensation; and reinstated individual employment agreements. It also gave employees a $1,000 bonus to “celebrate” the vote. He said the savings—“millions of dollars”—from no longer having to handle union grievances and contract negotiations will more than pay for these increases.
Meanwhile, the company is in the process of forming a pilot committee to “fairly integrate” the seniority lists of Flexjet and Flight Options pilots, Ricci said. In addition, he plans to expand its Red Label program, which pairs dedicated crews to its premium jet models, to include 200 more pilots. To gear up for further expansion, Flexjet is also hiring more pilots; it has already added 57 year-to-date and expects to hire another 100 by year-end.
According to Ricci, Flexjet has accelerated deliveries of Gulfstream G650s, with four now on property; it has two more on firm order and expects to exercise its options for six more. Due to certification delays at Gulfstream, the G500s won’t enter Flexjet’s fleet until next year, instead of later this year. It has six G500s on firm order. An announcement about the expansion of Flexjet Europe is also planned in the fall, he added.