Friday, October 03, 2008

Pilots frustrated by 'incomplete' US Airways/America West merger process

USAPA logoThree years after the merger between US Airways and America West, pilots are frustrated that the carrier's management seems incapable of getting the merger completed. The pilots are angry that they are still working under two separate Collective Bargaining Agreements left over from their former airlines. Not only does each pilot group have a different set of work rules and pay rates, they’re not permitted to fly each other’s aircraft or intermix crews.

The US Airline Pilots Association (USAPA), the independent union formed earlier this year to represent the 5,000 pilots of US Airways, notes that instead of concluding the effective merger of the two units, the airline continues to be "entangled in labor disputes, law suits, and customer service issues."

"What the Delta and Northwest managements did in just a couple of months, US Airways Management hasn’t been able to do in over three years," said USAPA President Stephen Bradford. "Management’s inability to complete the merger of US Airways and America West, coupled with their apparent focus on short term, quick-return management philosophies, is costing our Company in a big way."

According to USAPA, the unresolved labor contract issues cause "confusion, inefficiencies and severe morale problems that carry over into the airline’s operation," noting that for the first six months of 2008, US Airways ranked "a dismal 18 out of 19" for consumer complaints.

USAPA believes that merging US Airways and America West into a single airline, with a single Pilot Collective Bargaining Agreement, would allow Management to capture synergies that would benefit US Airways’ passengers, investors and employees alike and go a long way towards positioning the airline for a secure future.