July 17, 2001
ALPA Pilots Maintain US Airways Must Be Allowed to Succeed
PITTSBURGH--The US Airways Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) Master Executive Council, which represents US Airways 6,100 pilots, announced today that it will continue to insist that management return to the planned competitive structuring of US Airways, which was abandoned in its infancy to pursue a merger with United. This announcement precedes the US Airways Board of Directors meeting on July 18, called to consider management "options" for the airlines future in the aftermath of Uniteds request to terminate the merger agreement.
"The pilots are demanding that senior management refocus their attention to the operation of our airline," said Captain Chris Beebe, chairman of US Airways ALPA Master Executive Council. "Mr. Wolf and Mr. Gangwals continued preoccupation with the proposed United merger could squander our companys competitive future as a standalone carrier, as well as our pilots long-term dedication and recent investments to ensure that future."
Chairman Stephen Wolf and President and CEO Rakesh Gangwal committed to employees that once given competitive tools and cost structures, they would capitalize on our airlines strengths, exploit the route network, and grow US Airways into a world-class carrier of choice. In 1997 and 1998, US Airways pilots provided the company with cost-savings contract provisions and the tools that management requested to ensure the long-term growth and success of the airline. These provisions enabled the company to become cost competitive with other major airlines, to create MetroJet to counter low-fare carriers such as Southwest, and to facilitate the purchase of new aircraft to rationalize the fleet and reduce operating costs. By March 2000, all of the labor groups had agreed to competitive contracts, collectively believing that we were investing in our futures and the growth of the franchise. Wolf and Gangwal announced the airline was in a position to grow. One month later pilot hiring stopped. Two months later, in May 2000, they announced US Airways was for sale to United.
"As soon as everyone bought into their plan to secure our futures, management sold out," said Captain Beebe. "Wolf and Gangwal became singularly focused on packaging and selling the airline without adequately ensuring essential career protections for employees."We gave the Company the necessary tools to succeed, and management laid them down for over 14 months to pursue a merger," said Captain Beebe. "The results have been missed opportunities, crew shortages, competitive incursions, and a general sense that the airline is not being allowed to succeed."
ALPA represents 66,000 airline pilots at 47 airlines in the U.S. and Canada. Visit the ALPA website athttp://cf.alpa.org.
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ALPA CONTACT: Roy Freundlich
(610) 513-5390; (412) 264-5600