Air Line Pilots Association, International
Alaska Airlines Master Executive Council

2800 S. 192nd St. Suite 106 Seattle, WA 98188

Release #08.ALA4
September 12, 2008

Alaska Airlines Pilots Worry Furloughs Will Limit Company’s Ability to Respond to Market Opportunities
By Cutting Pilot Ranks too Deep, Management Risks Future Growth

SEATTLE—In response to Alaska Airlines management’s announcement that they anticipate furloughing up to 190 pilots, the Air Line Pilots Association, which represents the 1,500 pilots at Alaska Airlines, issued the following statement:

“We are concerned that, particularly as oil prices continue to plummet, Alaska Airlines will reduce its pilot ranks so severely that our management will create a situation in which our carrier will be unable to take advantage of its strong cash position and respond to opportunities to grow as other airlines cut routes and capacity,” said Capt. Bill Shivers, chairman of the Alaska Airlines Master Executive Council of the Air Line Pilots Association.

“Following 9/11, Alaska Airlines strategically used its strong financial position to grow our airline and expand into new markets. When conditions again improve to the point that would allow financially strong carriers to grow, we are concerned that competitors such as Southwest, Virgin America or Jet Blue will be in a position to capitalize on opportunities that our company has denied itself the ability to take advantage of. Returning pilots to the line after a furlough is a time consuming process, and if management follows through on announced plans to reduce pilot ranks so severely, they create a scenario where we are no longer a nimble carrier able to quickly respond to emerging opportunities.

“We’ve already worked with Alaska’s management to create early out retirement and extended leave of absence programs, designed to mitigate the furlough and are continuing to look at ways to prevent the furlough as required by our Collective Bargaining Agreement. We will continue to support and represent all of our pilots, including any who management may choose to furlough.”

ALPA represents 53,000 pilots at 37 airlines in the U.S. and Canada, including the 1,500 pilots of Alaska Airlines. Visit the Alaska MEC Web site at


David Campbell or Jenn Farrell: 206-241-3138
After Hours: Jenn Farrell at 303-522-6399