September 3, 2010
ExpressJet Pilots See Optimism in Sale/Merger, Cite Job Protection Assurances
HOUSTON, TEXAS—Union leaders of the ExpressJet pilots, who are represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), met this week to determine their position on the proposed sale of ExpressJet Airlines to SkyWest Holdings, Inc. and the planned subsequent merger of the airline with Atlantic Southeast Airlines (ASA), which was announced on Aug. 4, 2010. The history of airline mergers has shown that pilot support is critical to an airline’s ability to fully realize the financial and operational gains from a merger.
“For an airline merger to be truly successful, it has to be a partnership benefitting all parties—employees, management, shareholders, and passengers,” said Capt. Chris Cashmareck, chairman of the ALPA unit for ExpressJet pilots. “When the proposed merger was first announced, we reserved judgment until we could assess how it would affect our pilots; however, we have since worked with senior management at ASA and SkyWest to develop a transition and process agreement that when completed will, among other things, provide essential job protections for our pilots. These and other commitments made by management are an indication that this is not just another run-of-the-mill merger. Our pilots are a valued partner in this transaction and as such, we see reason for optimism for the ExpressJet pilots in this deal.”
After the Aug. 4, 2010 announcement, the pilots’ union publicly stated a number of requirements that must be met for pilot support of the transaction:
the transaction must result in a profitable airline that provides long-term stability and progressive career potential for our pilots;
the transaction must honor the scope and successorship provisions of our collective bargaining agreement;
management must commit to negotiating a joint collective bargaining agreement that benefits all pilots; and
there must be a fair and equitable seniority list integration.
Capt. Cashmareck concluded, “We remain committed to protecting the interests and careers of our pilots. We believe that the proposed transaction offers the potential for additional stability and career opportunities that, in combination with the stated commitments from management for job protections, a joint collective bargaining agreement that benefits all pilots and a fair and equitable seniority list integration, are in the best interests of our pilots. We anticipate a positive future ahead for ExpressJet pilots as we move forward in this process. We will continue to explore the range of opportunities for our pilots through the merger, careful to preserve our legal rights so as to be able to take advantage of all options available to us.”
ALPA represents nearly 53,000 pilots at 38 airlines in the United States and Canada, including more than 2,700 pilots at ExpressJet Airlines.
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Lydia Jakub, Air Line Pilots Association, 480-586-5873 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Amy Flanagan, Air Line Pilots Association, 281-925-4601 or email@example.com