January 5, 2006

ALPA Salutes Independence Pilots
A Message from President Duane Woerth

Capt. Cameron Greene prepares for his final flight with Independence Air on January 5, 2006.

It is with great sadness that we mark the final day of Independence Air as part of our nation’s air transport system. FLYi’s predecessor, Atlantic Coast Airlines, was a long-term success by any financial or safety measure, and today its legacy ends as well.

From the start of its transformation, FLYi was a daring experiment to forge a new business model in the face of several obstacles. If the experiment did not fully succeed, it was not for a lack of effort and dedication from its employees. To the end, they steadfastly maintained their enthusiasm and professionalism.

History will judge whether the business plan their company developed was fatally flawed, a victim of circumstance, or both. However, for today, we can acknowledge that had it not been for its employees, that plan would have never seen the light of day.

Atlantic Coast employees, members of the media, and other attendees gather at the Independence Air unveiling ceremony at a Dulles airport hangar on November 19, 2003 to preview the new Independence Air livery.

What every ALPA pilot should remember is that this bold pilot group refused to abandon its union principles of unity and resolve in the face of adversity. They understood that the FLYi transformation was not, and could not merely be, a disguised attempt to win the industry’s “race to the bottom.” Their vision was to help the company build a viable enterprise without relying on slicing their own wages and benefits.

I salute the Independence pilots and their union leaders for their uncompromising performance both on the job and at the bargaining table. The pilots at Independence Air have supported their union, and we will continue to reciprocate that loyalty. 

Through jobs and benefits conferences, we will provide them with every possible means of assistance for them to move forward with their lives and careers. We will work to make sure many of you are back in the cockpit soon. For those who choose other paths, I bid you farewell, brothers and sisters. You will be missed, but not forgotten.