Saturday, February 07, 2009

Two U.S. airlines recalling furloughed pilots

airlinerThis week, two U.S. carriers -- American Airlines and AirTran Airways -- announced the recall of furloughed pilots.

A spokesperson for American Airlines said additional pilots were needed to fly new planes coming into the fleet, and to replace pilots who retired, including some who opted recently for an early-out.

According to the Allied Pilots Association, the union representing pilots at American Airlines:
This week, AMR management announced the creation of a second pilot recall class for the month of March. An initial recall group of 39 pilots will begin Feb. 11 and will now be followed by a group of 10 pilots on March 4 and another group of seven pilots on March 18. An additional 15 pilots have been recalled, but will be placed on military leave of absence.
AirTran Airways, which furloughed 169 pilots this past summer, already has recalled 120 of those, and is sending out letters to recall the remaining 49 furloughees. An article about the AirTran pilot recall in the Atlanta Business Chronicle quoted an airline spokesman who said the pilots are needed for summer and to replace retiring pilots.

Contract negotiations between the AirTran and its pilots' union are also due to resume shortly. The talks had been suspended for several months. The pilots are seeking improvements to job security, work rules, health insurance, benefits and compensation, according to Capt. Mike Best, president of the National Pilots Association, which represents AirTran pilots.