Airline Division News, Week Ending March 2, 2013
ExpressJet Negotiations Update
Negotiations continued this past week, February 27th through March 1st in Baltimore.
While Airline Division Director David Bourne, met last week with Brad Holt to discuss a solution to a unified ExpressJet/ASA agreement; the focus of this week’s session was work on the Express Jet contract with the assistance of the federal mediator.
The parties discussed and passed proposals on Holidays and Overtime. Although no tentative agreements were reached, progress was made on both contract sections.
The negotiating committee will meet in March to provide information and guidance to Division Director Bourne in formulating his response to the Company’s assessment of what a unified agreement should contain.
The next mediated session is scheduled for April 9th through April 11th.
PATCO Calls Decision to Close Towers “Unjustified, Absurd…Needs to be Stopped”
In a statement released by the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization, PATCO President Ron Taylor condemned the decision to shut down air traffic control towers as part of the sequestration cuts.
“The decision by Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood and Federal Aviation Administrator, Michael Huerta, to close down over 100 Federal Contract Towers (FCT’s) due to sequestration is unjustified, absurd and needs to be stopped. The FCT program has been around for almost 30 years and has been lauded by the DOT’s Inspector General as highly efficient, cost effective and safe. The Air Traffic Controllers that man these towers are highly professional, and meet or exceed the same jobs requirements as FAA controllers,” Taylor said.
“Contrary to what the FAA says, the closing of these towers will jeopardize air safety and the overall efficiency of the National Airspace System (NAS). Beyond the tower closure, the rippling effect will cause serious loss of revenues to local airports and the business community as a whole. It is time for the Republican controlled Congress to get its act together and work with President Obama on this issue, but not at the price of air safety,” he concluded.
A Flight Bringing Soldiers Home Caps a Career of Service
When Giant 8221, an Atlas Air 747-400 touched down and rolled out at BWI airport on Thursday evening, a career of service came to a fitting end.
Atlas Air Captain Tom Hughston; a former United States Air Force pilot who joined Atlas Air after 20 years of military service, concluded his civilian career in the best way possible; bringing a planeload full of American troops home to their families and loved ones.
Hughston’s career at Atlas did not just include flying duties. He also served on the pilots negotiating committee and was part of the team led by David Bourne; who was the Atlas MEC Chairman at the time, which helped resurrect a failed TA that led to the group’s first contract in 2002 when they were members of another union.
Enroute across the Atlantic on his last trip, he received an in-flight call from Atlas COO John Dietrich, congratulating him on his retirement and thanking him for his service to the pilots and company. On his arrival and taxi in, he was greeted by the BWI Airport Fire Department who used their snorkel trucks to form a water arch for him to taxi under, saluting his career.
Just as a welcoming party awaited the troops at the gate; unknown to Hughston, a welcoming party waited his arrival as well. Former negotiating committee Chairman Captain Robert Grass and former committee members Captain Tom Butler and Captain Philip Piraino, along with friend and fellow Captain Frank Kennedy waited with Airline Division Director Captain David Bourne to welcome him. Former Atlas Negotiating Chairman Paul Alves, now an International Representative involved in the UAL JCBA negotiations, called in with his congratulations as well.
When the families and friend of the troops became aware of Captain Hughstons retirement, many of them and many soldiers who had just come off the flight delayed their homecomings to await and applaud Captain Hughston as he departed the aircraft; insisting he exit the same way they did, to the applause, handshakes and “thank you’s” of the troops and their families.
Following a celebratory dinner with his friends, Captain Hughston flew home to begin his well deserved retirement. On behalf of the Airline Division, we extend our best wishes and thanks for a career and service well done.
UAL Negotiations Progress
Negotiators for UAL/CAL/CMI have now reached conclusion in principal on the entire agreement for non-economic Phase 1 issues. The work of crafting language will continue in parallel with the negotiation of Phase 2 economic discussions. The Phase 2 economic discussions began with information being exchanged between the parties’ actuaries regarding pension and health care solutions next week.
Both parties found some room for further discussion on some of those issues that the sub committees previously determined to be Phase 2 items. In addition, the LoA subcommittee began discussing the Letters of Agreements with the assistance of NMB mediator Michael Kelleher.
On benefits, the Actuaries from Cheiron along with Professional Economist Dan Akins, who were representing the union, met with the experts who will be advising the company on the benefits packages including pension and medical plans. These talks were attended by representatives of management and the Union and included the attorneys from both sides. More information was exchanged and explained between the parties in an effort to lay some solid ground work once formal benefit discussions between the parties start the week of March 11th.
A formal report of the rank and file seniority integration committee was prepared and signed by mediator Ralph Berger. The report will be used by the rank and file negotiating committee during phase 2. The report can be seen at the following link:
This Week in Air Safety
This week, Local 1224 Safety Coordinator, Russ Leighton, traveled to Las Vegas to meet with the new Allegiant Safety Committee and Air Safety Team. Allegiant First Officers Aaron Van Arsdale and Peter Willums were in attendance and have been tasked with developing the Allegiant 1224 Safety Committee.
In a meeting that was later summarized as tremendously successful, the union began by describing all the various safety issues it has been and continues to be involved with on national and local levels. They also assured the company that their goal is to work cooperatively to enhance safety at Allegiant. Management from Allegiant was equally engaged and committed to working with the new safety committee in a non-partisan, cooperative fashion.
Many rumors were also dispelled at this meeting and a positive dialogue began; with FO’s Van Arsdale and Willims indicating that they were very interested in hearing the company’s suggestions on what type of structure would be most suited to Allegiant’s unique operation.
Airline Industry News
Governmental and Regulatory
The Federal Aviation Administration has notified 168 air-traffic control towers operated by contractors of pending closures on April 1st.
A comprehensive Boeing proposal to return 787s to flight will require extensive testing, Federal Aviation Administration chief Michael Huerta says.
Airline and Industry
EADS has reported that wing-rib repairs for the A380 totaled $328 million during 2012, charges that were anticipated by the company.
Stephen Johnson, executive vice president for government affairs at US Airways, answered questions from lawmakers on the proposed merger between US Airways and American Airlines.
Delays in deliveries of freighters reflect a decline in demand for main deck cargo lift.
Eighty percent of US Airways flight attendants voted Thursday to approve a contract that includes provisions for a merger with American Airlines. The contract covers attendants from the 2005 merger with American West and attendants from US Airways in a single contract for the first time.
Shinichiro Ito, the new president of ANA Holdings Inc. and chairman of All Nippon Airways, says he is confident that the Boeing 787 will return to service. "If the battery problem is resolved, I am confident the aircraft will be fine," Ito said.