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News Release

Release #03.079
November 10, 2003

Atlantic Coast Pilots Overwhelmingly Approve Changes To Contract; Pave Way For New Low-Cost Independent Airline

DULLES, VA --- Atlantic Coast Airlines pilots voted resoundingly today to modify their contract in support of management’s ground-breaking plan to establish a new independent airline based at Washington Dulles International airport. With 93 percent of eligible pilots voting, 97 percent voted in favor of modifications to their contract. 

The changes will potentially lower the airline’s operating costs and provide greater operational flexibility while benefiting pilots with enhanced career opportunities at the new independent airline. The company unveiled its plans to fly as Independence Air ( at a November 19 press event at Dulles (see photos).

The language that the pilots adopted includes changes to the pay structure and work rules that will enhance pilot productivity and reduce pilot training costs. The new agreement also establishes a significant profit-sharing plan that allows pilots to participate in the company’s potential success.

"This vote proves without a doubt that Atlantic Coast pilots believe in the company’s vision to establish a quality low-cost airline," said Captain Stephen Hunt, chairman of the Atlantic Coast unit of the Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA). "Our pilots are excited about the prospect of transforming Atlantic Coast into an independent airline and are committed to working side-by-side with all ACA employees to ensure the success of our new carrier."

Changes to the pilots’ contract will go into effect gradually as Atlantic Coast relinquishes its role in the United Airlines Express system and becomes an independent low-cost carrier. These provisions, however, will be nullified in the event that control of Atlantic Coast Airlines should change hands.

Captain Hunt further stated, "These last several months of intense negotiations that led to our transformational letter of agreement and subsequent resounding ratification have solidified an already strong relationship that is grounded in mutual trust between pilots and this ACA management group. If circumstances change and ownership of the airline shifts, a new relationship would have to be forged and a different set of rules established."

Headquartered in Dulles, Virginia, Atlantic Coast Airlines is one of the leading operators of regional jets in the U.S., with more than 1,600 pilots and a current fleet of 142 aircraft, including 112 regional jets.

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s oldest and largest pilots’ union, representing 66,000 pilots at 42 airlines in the U.S. and Canada. Visit the ALPA web site at

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ALPA CONTACT: Anya Piazza (703) 481-4440