March 1, 2011
Sun Country Pilots Applaud Airline’s Exit from Bankruptcy
MINNEAPOLIS – Sun Country Airlines has emerged from bankruptcy, a positive step that the airline’s 162 pilots hope will encourage their management to a speedy resolution of a new pilot contract.
The announcement that Sun Country has left Chapter 11 is the latest sign of the airline industry’s improving fortunes, said Capt. Dennis Vanatta, chairman of the Sun Country Master Executive Council of the Air Line Pilots Association Int’l (ALPA).
“We’re pleased that our management can now put its full focus on growing our airline,” said Capt. Dennis Vanatta. “Getting out of chapter 11 took longer than usual because of our unique situation, but we hope we are now on the right path to success.”
Sun Country was forced to declare bankruptcy in late 2008 after an FBI investigation revealed that majority owner Tom Petters had stolen billions of dollars from investors of other companies he had owned and others as well. Pilots and other employees had endured 50 percent pay cuts for a short period to keep the airline from going out of business.
Petters is now in prison, the employees have been repaid with interest and the airline is growing. Sun Country has recalled all its furloughees, is hiring new pilots and won FAA certification last year to fly overseas, including regularly scheduled service to Great Britain.
The SCA MEC entered contract negotiations almost a year ago, and Vanatta says management should not forget the sacrifices employees have made to preserve the airline.
“Now that we’re out of bankruptcy it’s time finalize a new contract that recognizes and rewards our achievements. We’re ready to accelerate our efforts to complete that process,” Vanatta said.
Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilot union, representing nearly 53,000 pilots at 38 airlines in the United States and Canada. Visit the ALPA website at www.alpa.org.
CONTACTS: Capt. Dennis Vanatta, 952-853-2362