Release #: DAL 19.03
August 20, 2019

Delta Air Lines Pilots to DOT: “Blue Skies” Transatlantic Joint Venture Must Protect Delta Pilot Jobs and Careers

ATLANTA, Ga.—The Delta Air Lines Master Executive Council (MEC) of the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA) issued the following statement after filing comments with the Department of Transportation (DOT) in response to Delta’s application to move forward with its proposed “Blue Skies” transatlantic joint venture (JV) with Air France, KLM, and Virgin Atlantic. The Blue Skies JV would consolidate and replace the existing Delta-Virgin Atlantic JV and Delta-Air France-KLM JV agreements.

“Delta pilots have been adamant that airline management must meaningfully commit to equitable growth with its joint venture partners. Without an equitable growth commitment, job growth and career opportunities for Delta pilots are limited.

“Despite claims that Delta’s initial JV with Virgin Atlantic would produce new United States to United Kingdom flying opportunities for Delta and its pilots, U.S.-UK growth has gone almost exclusively to Virgin Atlantic, and Delta now flies fewer flights between London and New York than it did before the JV. In other words, Delta effectively used the JV to outsource flying that should have been performed by Delta pilots to a foreign airline partner. Delta’s track record gives the MEC serious cause for concern that it could attempt to use the Blue Skies JV in the same way. 

“To prevent that from happening, Delta pilots urged the DOT to place conditions on Blue Skies to ensure that Delta realizes an equitable share of any JV growth. Among other things, DOT should impose a review to assess Blue Skies’ impact on U.S. airline jobs and career opportunities and confirm that the JV equitably distributes flying and growth to Delta and its pilots—and not primarily for the benefit of foreign JV partners.

“Scope, including joint ventures, matters to the Delta pilots—it is the foundation of our contract, and we will continue to enforce and seek enhancements to our scope language. We need assurances that Delta is committed to equitable growth, as the company has repeatedly stated. It is time for Delta management to back up their words with actions.”

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the largest airline pilot union in the world and represents over 62,000 pilots at 35 U.S. and Canadian airlines. Visit the ALPA website at or follow us on Twitter @WeAreALPA.


CONTACT: ALPA Media, 703-481-4440 or