February 2, 2009
For Immediate Release
United, Aer Lingus Pilots Sign Protocol Agreement
In Response to Airlines’ Proposed Partnership
Chicago, Ill.—Representatives from the United Master Executive Council of the Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA) and the Irish Air Line Pilots Association (IALPA), which represents the pilots of Aer Lingus Airlines, today signed a protocol agreement that will bring the two groups together to protect the interests of pilots from both airlines in light of the recently announced partnership between United and Aer Lingus.
Last month, the two airlines announced a partnership that will allow both airlines to sell seats on a Washington, D.C.-to-Madrid route, using Aer Lingus aircraft not flown by United or Aer Lingus pilots. The flights, operating under the current Aer Lingus certificate, are scheduled to begin in March 2010.
“It is imperative that we work together on both sides of the Atlantic to prevent the anti-labor aspects of this agreement from impacting pilots from our two airlines,” said Captain Steve Wallach, chairman of the United MEC. “This partnership between United and Aer Lingus will set a dangerous precedent regarding international air travel where pilots on both sides of the Atlantic will pay a steep price. We will explore every regulatory, legislative and legal avenue to protect the rights and careers of our members.”
“We are very pleased to have entered into this protocol agreement with the United pilots and we will be working with them to confront the challenges this partnership poses to both our pilot groups,” said Captain Evan Cullen, president of the IALPA. “We look forward to working with our United colleagues to explore every option to end our respective company’s blatant disregard and lack of loyalty to their pilots, as well as to their corporate identities.”
Founded in 1931, ALPA represents 52,500 pilots at 36 airlines in the U.S. and Canada, including the approximately 7,800 pilots of United Airlines, including 606 who are on furlough.