January 21, 2010
Continental Pilots Respond to Release of Continental Airlines’ 2009, Q4 Financial Results
HOUSTON – The Continental Airlines pilots, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), have responded to Continental Airlines’ release of its 2009 full-year and fourth-quarter results.
Says Capt. Jay Pierce, chairman of the ALPA chapter for Continental pilots, “We are glad to see that Continental, while posting a full-year loss, did show an operating profit for the last two quarters, including the fourth quarter, which is usually a money loser for airlines. Additionally, we are pleased to see Continental management invest in the future of the airline, with a move to the Star Alliance and spending on new airplanes, new seats, DIRECTV and Internet access on some aircraft. However, what is sorely missing in their release is mention of investment in the very asset that is most critical to the success of the airline: its employees.
“Labor groups at Continental Airlines have endured years of working under concessionary contracts, with cuts in pay, work rules and benefits. The pilots’ contract is more than one year past its amendable date, and we have been negotiating since July 2007. With the potential gains in revenue from Continental’s move to the Star Alliance, continued positive economic indicators and signs of recovery in the airline industry, management must now turn its attention to making things right with its front-line labor groups.”
The pilots last met with management in early December 2009, presenting the union’s comprehensive proposal covering all sections of the contract, including economic issues such as pay, work rules, retirement and benefits.
Added Capt. Pierce, “The pilots of Continental Airlines have made a personal investment of approximately $1 billion in wage, work rule and benefit concessions over the last five years; we need to get a return on that investment. The ‘thank you’ in the company’s release is a nice gesture, but at some point you need to take care of your employees.”
ALPA represents more than 53,000 pilots at 37 airlines in the United States and Canada, including approximately 5,000 pilots at Continental Airlines. There are 147 Continental pilots currently on furlough. For more information, visit www.alpa.org.
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