May 2, 2011
ALPA to Negotiate Contract that Shares in the Benefit of the Atlantic Southeast/ExpressJet Merger
Atlanta—As SkyWest, Inc. (Nasdaq: SKYW), readies its earnings statement for release on Wednesday, pilots—represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA)—are preparing to open negotiations with the management of Atlantic Southeast (ASA), a wholly owned subsidiary of SkyWest, to achieve a Joint Collective Bargaining Agreement (JCBA) that will define compensation and work rules for the 4,300 pilots of ASA and the former ExpressJet Airlines. Though the two airlines formalized their merger in late 2010, the operations remain separate while the two pilot groups continue to work under different contracts. The merged ASA is the largest independently owned regional airline in the United States and performs flying for Delta, Continental, and United.
“With operating revenues totaling $2.77 billion last year and a substantial increase in the number of revenue flights during the first quarter of 2011, our parent company, SkyWest, Inc., and its shareholders have already had a glimpse into the synergies created by bringing ExpressJet into the family,” said Capt. William Dressler, chairman of the ExpressJet unit of ALPA. “The full value of this merger has yet to be realized; however, we anticipate that positive trends and appreciable synergies will continue as the merger nears completion and the pilots expect to share in such success. The pilots of ExpressJet and ASA provide a valuable service to our company, our partners, and our passengers. These and other contributions must be recognized at the bargaining table.”
The completed JCBA is a prerequisite for the integration of the two pilot groups; any projected synergies and associated cost savings that will strengthen SkyWest’s position in the marketplace depend on this process occurring quickly and efficiently.
“Our pilots look forward to continuing to build a partnership with our management and shareholders to create a corporate platform recognized as a long-term model for the airline industry. For this to occur, our merger must result in a safe, efficient, and profitable business,” said Capt. David Nieuwenhuis, chairman of the ASA unit of ALPA. “This merger must share the success of the airline with our hard-working professional pilots who provide the dedication and determination to make this merger possible. Mutual respect and good-faith compliance with our existing agreements and negotiation of our new joint collective bargaining agreement must be the foundation of this partnership.”
The combined fleet of ASA consists of approximately 410 aircraft from Embraer and Bombardier. With over 2,200 daily departures, the 4,300 pilots of ASA serve over 150 destinations in 39 states, the District of Columbia, Canada, and Mexico. ASA pilots are based in Atlanta, Chicago, Cleveland, Houston, Washington, D.C., and Newark.
Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilot union, representing nearly 53,000 pilots at 39 airlines in the United States and Canada. Visit the ALPA website at www.alpa.org.
Capt. Bill Dressler (ExpressJet): (281) 987-3636
Capt. David Nieuwenhuis (ASA): (404) 209-8566
Lydia Jakub: (602) 306-1116
Jen Lofquist: (703) 481-4459