Wednesday, September 08, 2010

ALPA responds to Comair plans for drastic fleet reduction, crew furloughs

by B. N. Sullivan

ComairLast week, U.S. regional airline Comair, a wholly owned subsidiary of Delta Air Lines, announced plans for a drastic reduction of its aircraft fleet over the coming two years.  The carrier plans to retire 49 of its 93 aircraft, including most of its 50-seat CRJ 100s and 200s, by the end of 2012.  Furloughs are sure to follow.

Today, Comair management was scheduled to meet with union leaders from several of its work groups, including representatives of the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, and Teamsters Local 513.

Capt. Matt Lamparter, chairman of the Comair unit of ALPA released the following statement today:
“Obviously, we are deeply disappointed by the company’s plans to restructure the airline. However, our commitment has been and remains to our pilots and to protecting our contract, our jobs, and our futures.

“We intend to use the full array of ALPA resources to ensure that any downsizing of the company will have the input of our pilot group and will respect our contract. We have scheduled meetings with Comair management and plan to be a full partner as this restructuring moves forward.

“Despite the heavy burden of this announcement, Comair pilots will continue to demonstrate the professionalism and solidarity—both in the cockpit and out—that built this airline and carried it through a bankruptcy and a strike. As before, when faced with challenges, this pilot group has overcome and succeeded. Although the situation is different, our goal is the same: a strong and unified pilot group and a successful airline.”
Comair has not yet made public the number of crew and ground staff jobs that will be cut in the course of the restructuring.  Expect to hear about voluntary severance offers and furloughs in the near future.