Release #13.RYN
January 12, 2013

Ryan International Shuts Down, Fires Pilots

ROCKFORD, Ill. – Pilot leaders at charter carrier Ryan International Airlines, Inc., represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l., will work aggressively to find new jobs for Ryan’s 209 pilots after the airline abruptly announced it is going out of business, effective January 11, 2013.

The Rockford-based carrier ceased operations, terminated its employees and announced it will liquidate the airline after its owners failed to find a buyer for the company. Ryan has been in Chapter 11 bankruptcy since last March.

Capt. Erik Sparks, Chair of ALPA’s Ryan Master Executive Council, said the union had been cooperating with management and creditors until the end to save the airline, which laid off hundreds of employees and slashed its aircraft fleet in recent months after losing a series of charter contracts it held with the US government. At the time of the shutdown, the airline had only three aircraft and 51 active pilots, with two-thirds of the pilot group already furloughed.

“Today’s announcement is the culmination of a series of bad management decisions made over the past two years. But our pilots can hold their heads high knowing that we always flew with safety and professionalism, and did everything possible to preserve our jobs,” Sparks said.

“Our airline may be gone, but our union endures. We will work even harder to ensure that Ryan pilots can keep flying, hopefully for other ALPA carriers.” Through ALPA’s Furloughed Pilots Support Program (FPSP), the Ryan pilots will continue to receive assistance from ALPA, including admission to job fairs, employment opportunities, and unemployment benefit information. FPSP also sends out a Flight Path newsletter and has a website containing resources covering everything from stress management to finances.

“Our members at Ryan should know that their national union is here to support them,” said ALPA President Capt. Lee Moak. “We will spare no effort to protect their employment rights and continue the advancement of their aviation careers.”

Ryan began as a fixed-base operator in Wichita, Kan. in 1976, then began hauling freight. It became an all-passenger charter carrier in 2004 and moved its headquarters to Rockford, Ill., in 2006 following its purchase by a real estate holding company.

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilot union, representing nearly 51,000 pilots at 35 airlines in the United States and Canada. Visit the ALPA website at


ALPA CONTACT: Rusty Ayers, 847-323-9519,