Sunday, August 05, 2007

Unhappy Mesa pilots jumping ship

Mesa Air GroupPilots at Mesa Air Group are jumping ship to go to work for other carriers. The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), the union representing the Mesa pilots, blames the mass exodus on "pilot staffing and morale issues that are reaching critical levels and negatively impacting Mesa operations." As an expression of their displeasure, the pilots put up billboards across the country this week imploring management to address these issues.

In a news release issued a few days ago about the billboards ALPA said:
Mesa management’s unwillingness to follow the pilots’ contract has caused a mass exodus of skilled pilots making unprecedented lateral moves to other regional carriers. So far this year, nearly 400 pilots have left Mesa Air Group, creating pilot shortages which, among other things have led to flight delays and cancellations.

“Our airline has been bleeding pilots for many months but unfortunately management has been unwilling to make any significant changes to retain the kind of skilled, professional crews that are needed to service our numerous operations,” said Captain Michael Jayson, a 14-year employee and chairman of the ALPA unit at Mesa.

With increasingly low morale and unrest within the pilot group, union leaders are publicly expressing their growing concerns about the long-term viability of Mesa Air Group via billboards in its major hub cities and near corporate headquarters in Phoenix. With the following message appearing in Atlanta, Charlotte, and Phoenix, the Mesa pilots hope that management will take their concerns seriously and work with them on solutions for attracting and retaining their professional pilot force.
Mesa pilots have been leaving recently for other jobs with higher pay and benefits, and better pilot work rules. ALPA contends that on-going contract violations on the part of Mesa's management, coupled with the opportunities for better pay and working conditions at other carriers, "will continue to drive pilot attrition and discourage new pilots from joining Mesa’s operation."

Mesa Air Group pilots fly as Delta Connection, US Airways Express, United Express, Go Airlines and Mesa Airlines.