Mesa Airlines to Operate CRJ-700 as US Airways Express
US Airways sent a note to Bombardier Aerospace, saying that it
will not be taking delivery of the 25 CRJ-705 regional jet aircraft
ordered in May, and instead, will contract with Mesa Airlines to
fly at least 25, and perhaps as many as 55, 70-seat regional jets
under the US Airways Express name.
Result of Union Logjam
The decision was made
after US Airways and its Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) unit
could not reach an agreement on terms under which the 75-seat CRJ-
705 would be flown by a wholly owned US Airways affiliate using
furloughed US Airways pilots under the carrier's 'Jets For Jobs'
"We continue to believe that the CRJ-705 falls within the
parameters of our contract with ALPA, and we were enthusiastic
about the purchase of these planes, which would have provided jobs
for up to an additional 225 furloughed US Airways pilots," said
Bruce Ashby, president of US Airways Express. "ALPA disagreed, and
rather than spend months -- maybe even years -- negotiating and
arbitrating our differences, we have decided instead to place the
jets at Mesa. That will mean fewer jobs for furloughed pilots and
at lower wage rates, but it reflects the position ALPA has
maintained in representing its members."
Under the US Airways-ALPA
'Jets For Jobs' agreement, half of all regional jet pilot positions
at affiliate carriers such as Mesa must be filled with furloughed
US Airways pilots, but 100 percent of the jobs associated with the
CRJ-700 series and Embraer 170/175 aircraft go to furloughed pilots
placed at the airline's regional carriers (PSA, Piedmont and
Allegheny) or its new wholly-owned MidAtlantic Airways
"Throughout our negotiations, we impressed upon ALPA
the need to stay on track in order to take delivery of these new
regional jets," said Ashby. "We finally concluded that we must
agree to disagree, and since we must continue to run the company
and implement our new business plan, the end result was the
decision to utilize Mesa and its workforce, since that is the net
result of ALPA's position."
Mesa Air Group says that all aircraft are expected to be put in
service no later than December 31, 2004.
"Regional jets are a critical piece of the US Airways
restructuring strategy," said Jonathan Ornstein, Mesa's Chairman
and CEO. "We are delighted to have the opportunity to significantly
expand this important part our operation. We would like to thank
our employees and employee leaders for their hard work and vision
which has made this possible."