US Airways pilots want E-190s flown by mainline

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Officials at US Airways’ pilots union have proposed a plan to management that would see only mainline pilots fly Embraer 190 aircraft once the carrier completes its planned merger with America West Airlines.

The proposal by the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) mirrors sentiments by America West’s ALPA unit that E-190 flying should not be contracted to regional affiliates of the new post-merger US Airways.

E-190 flying is not permitted under America West’s current pilot contract. In contrast, US Airways affiliate carriers can fly up to 25 E-190s “under certain provisions” contained in the latest collective bargaining agreement between the major and its pilots.

US Airways ALPA now appears keen to close the contractual loophole that would permit E-190 flying by US Airways Express feeder carriers.

In an online message to members, US Airways ALPA reveals that it has informed management it wants the 100-plus seat aircraft “to only be flown by mainline”. It has also proposed pay rates for mainline operations.

The union notes that many items in the transition agreement being drafted with its counterparts at America West “have been agreed to in principle” with management. The E-190 issue, however, remains unresolved.

ATI on August 1 exclusively revealed that America West and US Airways have issued a formal request for proposal (RFP) for a regional carrier to operate up to 25 E-190s for the carriers when they eventually merge. Air Wisconsin, Mesa Air Group and Republic Airlines each received the RFP.

One day later, a spokesman with the America West ALPA unit told ATI the union is maintaining that 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 mainline employees.

In an August 19 message to America West pilots, master executive council chairman JR Baker reaffirmed the pilot group’s stance saying: “Of particular concern is protection of flying for both sides and securing and bringing in-house the E-190 flying.”

He says the aircraft “need to be flown by our combined seniority list”.