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Union Fight in American Airlines/US Air Merger Continues

Union Fight in American Airlines/US Air Merger Continues

Envoy Air will need to lay off over 1,100 pilots as it moves through a downsizing adjustment as a result of the merger between US Airways and American Airlines. The new American Airlines Group is reducing the carrier’s routes and equipment as part of the merger.

The cutback represents a 47 percent reduction in the number of pilots according to the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA).  The downsizing also calls for the elimination of 59 of the smaller regional jets and the loss of 47 of Envoy’s larger jets due to reassignment.

In March, Breitbart Texas reported on the standoff between the various pilots unions affected by the airline giant’s merger.  The conflict between the unions created an odd symbiotic relationship between the Allied Pilots Association and American Airlines who were fighting against the negotiation tactics of the US Airline Pilots Association.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, in an article by Andrea Ahles, quoted ALPA master executive council chairman Bill Sprague as saying, “Currently the future looks very bleak.”  He said the airline will not have any aircraft available to replace the units being lost.

Sprague told the Star-Telegram that Envoy Air will park 59 of its Embraer 140s and will transfer 47 of the Bombardier CRJ-700 jets to a different carrier operating under the American Eagle brand.

8,000 of Envoy Air’s 12,000 employees are dedicated to ground services operations that include luggage handling and gate operations for other airlines in addition to Envoy at the smaller airports.

The move by American Airlines is seen by some as retaliation for the Envoy union rejecting a proposed contract that included a pay scale freeze until 2018.  About a month later American announced the scale back for Envoy and expansion of some of its other regional carriers’ routes and equipment.  The Star-Telegram reported American threatened to take regional aircraft away from Envoy if the contract was not approved.

Envoy denied rumors about a merger with Piedmont Airlines, another regional carrier that is owned by American Airlines and that was formerly with US Airways.

Envoy Air’s president, Pedro Gavregas said he does not intend to announce any layoffs.  Current attrition rates result in net loss of about 29 pilots per month due to retirements or lateral moves to other carriers.  Some of their pilots are also hired by American’s main service operation.

Follow Bob Price on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX

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