Pilots: Profitable Quarters Mean There's Money To Be Had
It's a sign of the times in
Philadelphia... where US Airways pilots plan to picket Tuesday.
It's also the latest in a series of signs that all is not well in
the newly-formed partnership between US Air and America West.
The pilots say they're no longer willing to accept management
statements that there's just no money for pay and benefit hikes --
despite the fact the airline has enjoyed two consecutive profitable
quarters to date, and had one of the highest profit margins in the
entire airline industry in Q2.
"We should fold up our briefcases and go home if they think for
one minute this is going to be a cost-neutral contract," said Jack
Stephan, chairman of the US Airways pilots union. Stephan told the
As US Airways pilots prepare to take to the picket line -- if
only for a day -- for their part, America West pilots are staying
out of the fray... for now.
"As we start to get to the more divisive issues, there's going
to be a time when the message is going to be sent clearly to the
company that we will not subsidize this merger," said spokeswoman
Tania Bziukiewicz of the America West unit of the Air Line Pilots
A spokeswoman for US Airways repeated the company's position
that when it comes to running a successful airline, you have to
look ahead -- and not count on past success.
"You can't drive looking in the rear-view mirror," Elise
Eberwein said. "We have to look out one year, three years, five
years. We have to make sure we're in a position to compete
aggressively and that means keeping our costs where they are
Both groups are due to start negotiations between now and the
end of summer.