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Thu, May 29, 2003

Chautauqua Pilots Vote on Option to Strike

Pilot Group to Receive Strike Authorization Ballots

In a special session of the Teamsters Local 747 Executive Board, ANN has been informed that the board unanimously voted in favor of sending a Strike Ballot Authorization to the pilots at Chautauqua Airlines. The ballots will be sent to the 700-plus pilot group on Friday, May 30, 2003, and will be counted on Friday, June 20, 2003.

Postponed negotiations and conflicting statements from both management and the company's negotiating team regarding additional US Airways code sharing flying have prompted the union to exercise the strike vote. The union claims that the company's actions and lack of good faith bargaining are proof that Chautauqua management has abandoned any attempt at presenting an acceptable contract agreement to their pilots or keeping additional US Airways code sharing flying at Chautauqua.

In a prior gesture to ensure Chautauqua's growth and the company's fulfillment of the US Airways/Jets for Jobs Agreement, the pilots overwhelmingly voted in favor of the additional US Airways code sharing flying and expected the company to move forward with their end of the bargain. However, at the recent Regional Airline Association Annual Convention, Chautauqua CEO Bryan Bedford stated that the pilots' vote was "a day late and a dollar short. The door is closed and it's beyond our ability to reopen it." This statement is inconsistent with information provided to union officials and in direct conflict with proposals the company's negotiating team has put on the table.

Chautauqua Airlines' parent company, Republic Airways Holdings, Inc., has also attempted to expedite the formation of alter-ego Republic Airlines, with the transfer of senior management personnel from Chautauqua Airlines. The union is currently fighting the formation of Republic Airlines, as it is in direct competition for Chautauqua business. Additionally, the pilot group is upset that Wexford Capital, LLC, the major investment group behind Republic Airways Holdings, Inc., Chautauqua Airlines and Shuttle America, is now trying to negotiate a deal with the Shuttle America pilots at substandard pay rates to fly regional jets for US Airways under a Jets for Jobs Agreement. The Chautauqua pilots have been negotiating in good faith to keep all US Airways code sharing flying at Chautauqua. Chautauqua currently flies for US Airways, Delta, America West and American Airlines.

FMI: www.flychautauqua.com

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