What's the Deal?
- In January 2019, ExpressJet Airlines was purchased by ManaAir LLC, which is partially owned by United Airlines.
- Purchase has been one defined by dysfunction, misinformation and a shrinking fleet, even with the addition of 25 new Embraer E175s.
- ExpressJet will likely see a net loss in pilots in 2019 and will fly fewer airplanes for United because of it.
- ExpressJet is only able to operate about 80 of its 125 E145s and only does so through constant crew reassignments, emails from chief pilots pushing pilots to cover trips, and extending pilots to work into their days off.
Why does ExpressJet continue to lag in the regional airline industry?
- Management has shown little interest in investing in the professionals who work 24/7/365 to ensure ExpressJet maintains a safe and reliable operation.
- In April 2017, the XJT Negotiating Committee (NC) made an initial pass to XJT management to begin negotiations for the pilots’ Contract 2018 under Section 6 of the Railway Labor Act, which governs negotiations for airline pilot contracts. After more than a year of waiting, management allowed a mere 45 days to complete negotiations.
- The pilots ratified Contract 2018 in the allotted timeline in order to place the company in a position to succeed. Contract 2018 contained meager pay raises (the pilot’s compensation package had been concessionary for 10 years), minor work rule changes, and a promise from management—contained within Letter 2 of the contract—to return to negotiations “shortly after” the contract was ratified in order to complete negotiations for the remainder of the rushed contract.
So, what is the current status of Letter 2 negotiations?
They are just beginning.
- Management has, up to now, not shown that they value the pilot group’s financial worth, quality of life or the contract they work under
- Our operation continues to be cheapened
- The solid foundation that has been built on the backs of the ExpressJet pilot group is being dismantled
- Other regional airlines are seeing significant investment, even outside of mandated negotiations, in order to attract and retain quality pilots.
- ExpressJet management is ensuring that other regionals become better places to work every day.