March 14, 2007
US Airways, America West Pilots Share Passengers’ Frustration
Pilots Picket US Airways Headquarters in Phoenix, Ariz., Today at 8 a.m. PDT, Demand Fair Contract to Merge Airlines
PHOENIX—Operational debacles are nothing new at US Airways [NYSE: LCC], only now, the passengers are suffering alongside labor as a result of management’s inability to merge America West and US Airways. The pilots of America West and US Airways, both of whom are represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, Int'l (ALPA), have been working for nearly a year-and-a-half to achieve a fair, single agreement, which would be a significant step in merging the two operations. However, management continues to thwart the process by passing bankruptcy-era proposals and seeking ways to circumvent the pilots’ agreements to illegally merge the two airlines on the cheap.
Noting the disturbing trend of long lines and delayed, rerouted or cancelled flights, the America West and US Airways pilots have urged senior management to focus on merging the two airlines. Instead, management has disregarded the pilots’ concerns to chase their dream of building a bigger airline. Following the failed merger attempt with Delta Airlines, US Airways management bunkered down and recently emerged to demonstrate their ineptitude when they bypassed the pilots’ agreements and illegally eliminated America West's HP designator code from reservation systems, listing all flights as a US Airways flight. While the pilots are now fighting this action—and similar contract violations—under the Railway Labor Act, the passengers have no such recourse and were left literally holding their bags for hours.
"No amount of whitewashing by management can cover the fact that the daily operations of US Airways are appalling," said America West Master Executive Council Chairman Captain John McIlvenna. "Last week’s disastrous attempt to merge the reservation systems after violating our agreements was just the tip of the iceberg. Until management gets serious about negotiations and meets us at the bargaining table with proposals that recognize our contributions, America West and US Airways will continue to operate separately to the detriment of our passengers, investors and employees."
"The US Airways pilots share the frustrations of our passengers, who are realizing that US Airways is long on promises and short on delivery, as they learned last week during the disastrous reservation systems switchover. Just as management promised our customers 'military precision' during the reservation systems merger, they promised the pilots a single contract. We're still waiting. We sincerely hope that our passengers don't have to wait as long as we do," said US Airways Master Executive Council Chairman Captain Jack Stephan.
Reaching a fair, single collective bargaining agreement with the pilots would go a long way toward merging the two operations and eliminating many of the problems encountered by running two separate airlines, which has prohibited passengers, investors and employees from capitalizing on the synergies the merger would create.
Founded in 1931, ALPA represents 60,000 pilots at 40 airlines in the U.S. and Canada. Visit the ALPA website at http://www.alpa.org.
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|America West contact: Tania
Air Line Pilots Assoc., Int’l.
America West Pilots Master Executive Council
(602) 306-1208; (602) 214-3490
|US Airways contact: Arnie Gentile
Air Line Pilots Assoc., Int’l.
US Airways Pilots Master Executive Council
(518) 424-8433; (412) 264-5600