US Airways expects to emerge from bankruptcy protection by 31 March as planned, but faces one last hurdle with its pilots.

The carrier has bankruptcy court approval to ditch the pilots' pension scheme, which has left the carrier with a $3.1 billion liability, but the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) union and US Airways management must still negotiate a mutually acceptable alternative plan. Resolution is a key condition of the airline's restructuring plan.

Court hearings are scheduled to begin in Virginia on 17 March and, if all goes well, these could confirm the restructuring plan and allow US Airways to emerge from Chapter 11 protection. That plan could stall, however, if the pilots lodge a protest over the pension issue. ALPA said last week that talks were continuing with US Airways.

Another cornerstone to the US Airways restructuring plan is its codeshare with bankrupt United Airlines. Chief executive David Siegel says the carrier could formally join the Star Alliance as early as this spring and hopes to forge a codeshare with Lufthansa by the end of the year.

Source: Flight International