July 11, 2001
Continental/Continental Express ALPA Pilots React to Spin Off of Express
HOUSTON Ė After meeting with company officials yesterday to discuss the anticipated IPO and eventual spin off of Continental Express, leaders of the Continental and Continental Express pilots, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, International, issued the following statement:
Continental management confirmed their intent for an initial public offering of Continental Express shares Sept. 1 of this year, as well as their desire to divest themselves of the express carrier after six months following the IPO. Continental plans to buy back 100 percent of the current flying capacity of the new company, ExpressJet, as well as that of the 99 aircraft on firm order for the next two years. The contractual Pilot Flow-Through provision for Continental Express pilots, which allows them to join the ranks of Continental pilots, will be terminated upon full divestiture.
"We listened intently to managementís plans and now have a better understanding of the blueprint for what they wish to build for the future of our airline," said Captain Pat Burke, chairman of the ALPA unit at Continental and Continental Express. "We, too, have a blueprint for our future as career pilots for this airline that we have drafted and will be pursuing in October, when both pilot groups initiate talks for new collective bargaining agreements. Just as the company must pursue its vision and its goals, so will we, to ensure that our pilotsí career expectations are realized," Burke said.
Continental and Continental Express pilots joined ALPA, the nationís largest and oldest pilots union, representing more than 66,000 pilots at 47 carriers in the United States and Canada, June 1 of this year. One governing body, called the Continental Master Executive Council, represents the Continental and Continental Express pilots. ALPA has pledged all resources necessary to protect pilot interests in the upcoming transaction and to assist both pilot groups in attaining contracts that reflect their professional contributions to the success of their airlines.
"From the myriad of smaller carriers, many pilots decided to come to work for Continental Express because of the opportunity of a flow-through to the mainline," said Captain Josh Rubin, MEC interim Executive Administrator and CALEX pilot. "Working grueling schedules and long hours, these pilots built Continental Express into the success that it is today, all along keeping an eye on the prize of becoming a mainline Continental pilot with higher wages, enhanced benefits and a better quality of life. It would be grossly unfair to change the rules of the game midstream. This issue is far from settled and we plan on working closely with management throughout the course of this transaction and in contract negotiations to preserve and enhance the opportunities we currently possess," Rubin said.
Continental Express has more than 2,000 pilots who fly EMB 135/145 jets, ATRs and Beech 1900s. Continental has more than 5,000 pilots who fly a wide range of equipment. Visit the ALPA Website at cf.alpa.org.
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CAL MEC Contact: James Moody, 281-987-3636
ALPA Contact: Anya Piazza, 703-481-4440