Release #CMT 10.01
October 26, 2010

CommutAir Pilots Protest Pay Cut Plan
Management Proposal Would Make Pilots Lowest Paid in the Industry

CLEVELAND – Pilots for Continental Connection carrier CommutAir conducted an informational picket at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport on Tuesday to protest proposed pay cuts that would make them the lowest-paid pilots for their aircraft type in the airline industry.

Coming at a time when experts agree the regional airline sector needs improvement, the pilots warned that CommutAir management’s plan to lower their wages is a direct assault on efforts to raise standards among regional carriers.

“No one wins in a race to the bottom,” said Colgan Air Capt. Mark Segaloff, who was recently elected to represent the CommutAir group as an executive vice-president of the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l. (ALPA). The CMT pilots joined the Association in 2008 and are negotiating their first union contract.

“Under CommutAir’s most recent contract offer, a new-hire pilot would make less than $20,000 a year,” Segaloff continued. “Every airline pilot has a stake in what’s happening at this small airline, because if CommutAir is successful in cutting pay when the industry is coming out of its slump, they will lower the bar for regional pilots across the country.”

The 134 pilots of CommutAir, based in North Olmsted, OH, began negotiations 20 months ago. In September the company unveiled its economic proposal: a 9 percent pay cut. ALPA’s economic proposal requests pay increases to bring the low-paying airline into parity with pilots flying similar turboprop aircraft.

“All the CommutAir pilots are asking for is an industry-standard wage. My airline, Mesaba, American Eagle, ExpressJet, and others have all weathered the same financial storms CommutAir has, and they set the market rate,” said Comair Capt. Mark Cirksena, who traveled from Cincinnati to support the CommutAir picketers. “The pilots at CommutAir need a living wage with a reasonable quality of life.”

Among the more than 77 pilots who participated in Tuesday’s picketing were ALPA members from 14 different carriers, including CommutAir, Continental, Delta, AirTran, ExpressJet, Colgan, Comair, Spirit, Mesaba, Air Wisconsin, Mesa, North American, Atlantic Southeast, and Trans States.

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilot union, representing more than 53,000 pilots at 38 airlines in the United States and Canada. Visit the ALPA website at


Rusty Ayers, 847-323-9519,
Capt. Mark Cirksena, 859-409-8639,