The refusal of Delta Air Lines directors to give its pilots a voting seat on the board have scuttled plans for a wide ranging alliance with United Airlines.

The strategic alliance proposal included a code-share which had to be approved by pilots' groups represented by the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), because their contracts contain provisions requiring union approval of code-sharing arrangements.

ALPA members at Delta demanded the director's seat as a condition of a contract change. United's pilots already have a seat on the board.

On 1 September, Delta and United terminated code-share discussions, but implemented a reciprocal frequent flier programme. Delta president Leo Mullin says: "We will continue to work with United to formulate additional joint marketing programmes."

A more limited alliance between American Airlines and US Airways has already got under way, although the Northwest Airlines and Continental Airlines tie-up, which sparked their rivals into action, appears to be on hold for the time being as the Northwest pilots' strike, coupled with concerns over the alliances from government regulators await resolution.

Source: Flight International