July 10, 2009
Continental Pilots Optimistic About Future with Star Alliance
HOUSTON, TEXAS---Continental pilots applaud today’s U.S. Department of Transportation announcement of final approval for Continental to join the existing antitrust immunized alliance with United and eight other Star alliance carriers. As Continental transitions from the SkyTeam to the Star alliance, this grant of immunity allows Continental to join and participate in the Star alliance as an equal partner.
“We have supported the granting of antitrust immunity to help our airline remain competitive and are optimistic about the opportunity that this presents. We look forward to capitalizing on the future benefits of Continental’s participation in the Star alliance and its position as an immunized carrier. We believe this is a positive step for our carrier, our customers and our pilots. However, the pilots, as essential partners, must benefit from the potential that immunity offers,” says Captain Jay Pierce, union leader of the Continental pilots. Continental pilots, along with pilots at United, are represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA). Capt. Pierce adds, “For the partnerships and joint ventures proposed under this plan to succeed, pilots at the affected carriers must play a key role. We will not support any plan that does not recognize our contribution or attempts to pit one carrier’s pilots against another.”
Continental and United pilots have been coordinating efforts for nearly two years as the two carriers courted first a merger and now Continental’s entry into the Star alliance as an immunized carrier. The support has also extended to cooperation during bargaining efforts, with both pilot groups currently in contract negotiations with their respective companies.
Says Capt. Pierce, “We will continue to work with the United pilots’ leadership as these partnerships are developed. It is in the best interest of both our pilot groups to ensure that adequate labor protections are included in these deals. United management’s actions in forming an alter ego airline (between Aer Lingus and UAL) have made us very aware of the lengths that they will go to, at the expense of labor, to line their own pockets.”
ALPA represents nearly 54,000 pilots at 36 airlines in the United States and Canada, including the approximately 5,000 pilots at Continental Airlines. There are currently 147 pilots on furlough from Continental. Visit the ALPA website at alpa.org.
# # #
Contact: Amy Flanagan, firstname.lastname@example.org, 281-925-4601