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May 3, 2002
Pilot Leaders of Star Alliance Meet in Stockholm
Stockholm, Sweden – 01 May 2002 -- The Associations of Star Alliance Pilots (ASAP) held its semi-annual meeting this week on April 29-May 01 at the Radisson SAS Hotel in Stockholm, Sweden. The meeting was attended by 40 delegates, consisting of the senior leadership for the pilot unions at the 14 air carriers who are members of the Star Alliance. The members of ASAP collectively represent more than 26,000 professional pilots around the world.
The meeting was jointly hosted by the Danish, Norwegian and Swedish pilot unions at Scandinavian Airlines, DPF, NSF and SPF respectively. Guest speakers at the meeting were Mr. Paul Hinton, Vice President Aviation Training and International Operations at Flight Safety Boeing, and Ms. Ana McAhron-Schulz, Director of Economic and Financial Analysis at the U.S. Air Line Pilots Association International (USALPA). Capt. Jerry Mugerditchian, also from USALPA, briefed the members on what the repercussions will be by the end of 2003 for foreign airlines entering American airspace as a result of the recently implemented security measures for the aviation industry in the United States of America.
A topic of major concern discussed at the opening of the meeting was the anti-labor actions by the management of the Brazilian member VARIG Airlines. VARIG’s management has discharged the entire elected union leadership of that airline’s pilot union, APVAR, and thereafter refused to meet with them in the collective bargaining process, thereby denying the VARIG pilots of any elected union representation and effectively divesting itself of any responsibility to continue to bargain and negotiate in good faith with its pilot group.
This unfair action is similar to one taken earlier by management at Cathay Pacific Airlines in Hong Kong when it also fired the entire pilot union leadership. That tragic event is now the subject of a probe for unfair labour practices by the International Labour Organization (ILO) at the United Nations after a request by the International Federation of Air Line Pilots Association (IFALPA) that it review the case. IFALPA will shortly be holding its yearly meeting in Stavanger, Norway where it is expected that VARIG's action will once again be reviewed.
The state of the airline industry and the situation for the member pilots at their respective airlines, in the wake of the tragic events of Sept. 11 last year and the general world recession, were also discussed at length. All participants at the meeting pledged their continued commitment to work cooperatively with management at the different member airlines to maintain the highest possible safety standards within Star Alliance.
The ASAP Working Group Coordinator Capt. Tom Kosik of United Airlines was pleased to note that ASAP continues to enjoy an ever increasing recognition within the airline industry, from air carriers, aircraft manufacturers and transport authorities. Its members once again renewed their commitment to mutual assistance to the extent allowed by law in the event of industrial action at a member airline. ASAP’s next scheduled meeting is in November 2002 in Bangkok, Thailand.
Contact: Kathie White, 847-292-1700
Captain Steve Derebey, 815-341-4629
Capt Herb Hunter, 954-818-7577