November 4, 2009
AirTran Pilots: Outsourcing Bad for Business
ATLANTA—Union leaders for the AirTran pilots issued the following statement in response to their airline’s announcement that AirTran [NYSE: AAI] has reached an agreement with SkyWest to operate five CRJ-200 aircraft—in SkyWest livery—between seven cities. AirTran pilots, who are represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), have been in contract negotiations for five years and are seeking guarantees that the company will not farm out work to the lowest bidder.
“The pilots of AirTran are deeply concerned that our management is outsourcing flying, even while the company’s mainline growth has been stagnant for the past two years. While we applaud any moves by the company to increase profitability, we strongly believe that AirTran customers expect and deserve to be flown on AirTran planes with AirTran pilots in the cockpit.
“Outsourcing AirTran flying to a regional carrier runs the risk of diminishing the travel experience in the eyes of our customers, and goes directly against the business model that has made this company a success. AirTran is known for its business class seats, XM Radio and WiFi Internet access, none of which would be provided on a 50-seat Regional Jet (RJ).
“AirTran has been marketing its full-sized aircraft in Milwaukee as a more comfortable alternative to Republic Holdings’ smaller RJs. It would be unfortunate if AirTran were to cede that advantage as it works to gain market share in the Midwest.
“Furthermore, it is unclear how the utilization of RJs in 2010 would be any more successful than it was in 2003, when the company ended AirTran Jet-Connect.
“As partners in the success of this airline, we are asking AirTran management to work with the pilots and other employees in the future to encourage the growth of the company from within—as they’ve done in the past with notable success.”
Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilots union, representing nearly 53,000 pilots at 36 airlines in the United States and Canada. For more information, go to PilotContractNow.com
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ALPA Contacts: Toni Vacinek 770-301-9393
Doug Baj 703-481-4456 firstname.lastname@example.org