West Airlines and US Airways have ratified a transition agreement with their
respective pilot leaders that will limit Embraer 190
flying to mainline operations when the carriers merge, and establish
the groundwork for a possible order of the 100-seat aircraft.
pact - which has been agreed by officials at each carrier’s Air Line Pilots
Association (ALPA) unit - also sets terms for management’s acceptance of a merged
seniority list, profit sharing and eventual negotiation on a single contract.
spokesman for US Airways ALPA tells ATI
the transition deal means management of the new US Airways will not be able to
contract E-190 flying to regional affiliates, which he calls “a key piece of
ATI on August 1 revealed that America
West and US Airways had issued a formal request for proposal (RFP) to Air
Wisconsin, Mesa Air Group and Republic Airlines to operate up to 25 E-190s for
the mainline carriers when they merge. That merger is expected later this month
or early October.
RFP was denounced just one day later by America West’s ALPA unit, which made it
clear it would fight to assume such operations. The pilots union said any Embraer aircraft in the “E-190 and above” size range and
any Bombardier aircraft in the “CSeries and above”
range fall within current scope clauses, and should only be operated by
America West’s collective bargaining agreement with its pilots does not permit
E-190 flying by regional affiliates, US Airways’ contract permitted it under
loopholes have now been closed by the new agreement, which ensures the
outsourcing of E-190 flying “cannot happen”, confirms the US Airways ALPA
says membership must still vote on certain E-190 conditions “because it
significantly impacts their pay and working conditions”. The US Airways ALPA
master executive council (MEC), however, is going to “strongly endorse” the
E-190 terms as they set “competitive rates” for the flying and are “in the best
interest of our membership”.
West’s ALPA unit, in an internal memo to members, supports its counterpart at
JR Baker, chairman of the America West MEC, says the new
transition agreement “protects the flying and aircraft of our pilots and those
at US Airways during the operational integration of the two airlines”, and
preserves E-190 operations for the mainline carrier.
He adds that the deal “provides that the pilots at America
West and US Airways will remain separate and covered by our own individual
collective bargaining agreements until the operations are merged, which entails
an integrated seniority list and negotiation of a single collective bargaining
Baker notes that while the MEC is “disappointed that we
did not address specific pay harmonization and ‘no furlough’ protections in
this agreement, there are several non-economic issues that we were successful
“And we will tenaciously pursue the open economic and
benefits issues when we enter into talks to merge the two agreements. This
transition agreement will serve as a foundation as we work toward achieving
that the transition agreement will ensure E-190 operations are conducted by
mainline may come as a blow to Republic, which was keen to assume the feeder
responsibilities. The airline last month even brokered a revised pilot contract
that would enable the company to operate up to 80 regional jets under a US
Airways jets-for-jobs agreement, including the 25 E-190s.
one point last month it appeared that the E-190 deal would go to Republic, with
possible involvement by Air Wisconsin.
The president of the America West unit
of the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA)-CWA Bill Lehman said America West chairman and CEO
Doug Parker “very clearly told us that the E-190 will not be operated by
mainline, but will be operated by regional partners”, after explaining that it
would not be economical for the mainline carrier to operate the large regional
could not be reached for comment.
Airways, meanwhile, applauds the new agreement. “We
are pleased that all parties have worked constructively to resolve issues that
could have delayed our emergence from Chapter 11 and believe that both
management and labor are committed to a constructive relationship going
forward,” it says in a statement.
is not immediately clear if or when the post-merger US Airways intends to place
the E-190 order.
carrier and Embraer decline to comment.
US Airways spokesman, however, previously told ATI that the carrier’s plan of
reorganization “contemplates 90-seaters as part of our fleet plan, and they
basically would replace some of the 50-seaters that would leave our fleet”.