Sunday, February 11, 2007

US Airways CEO arrested for DUI

Late last week it was revealed that US Airways CEO Doug Parker had been arrested in Arizona for speeding and driving under the influence of alcohol.

According to the police report about the incident, obtained and posted on the Web by CNBC, Parker was stopped in Scottsdale late on the evening of January 31, 2007. Police radar showed Parker's speed as 65 mph; the speed limit is 45 mph in the area where he was stopped.

The arresting officer's statement says that he detected the odor of alcohol on Parker's breath. The cop noted that Parker's eyes were bloodshot and his speech was slurred. When the officer asked Parker how much alcohol he had consumed, the reply was three beers in the last two hours.

The police report says that Parker refused a portable breath test for alcohol. The officer then placed Parker under arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol, and he was taken to a police station for processing. Upon arrival at the police station, Parker was asked to submit to a blood test. He did so, after first speaking on the phone with an attorney.

After the blood test, Parker was sent home in a taxi. He was directed to appear at the Scottsdale Municipal Court on February 21, 2007 for a hearing.

These are not good times for Doug Parker. The DUI arrest came on the very day that US Airways withdrew its offer to buy Delta Airlines after Delta's creditors announced their support for that airline's plan for reorganization as a stand-alone airline.

Another issue waiting to be resolved: The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), the union that represents US Airways pilots, has been pressing management to agree to a single, fair contract for all of the pilots they employ. The pilots, frustrated with contract negotiations that have been underway for the past year and a half, have been picketing at airports and company offices demanding that management make good on their promise of a unified contract. The pilot contract issue has been simmering ever since America West and US Airways merged in 2005.

A statement to US Airways employees by Doug Parker, in a news release issued by US Airways on February 9, 2007, ends with these words:
As I stated earlier in my letter to you, I will accept the consequences of my actions and I will ensure that it doesn't happen again.

Again, I apologize to you and appreciate the hundreds of notes of encouragement that I have received from you already. We have a great airline with great employees and I'm committed to not letting you down in the future. Thanks again.
It's time to get your house in order, Mr. Parker.