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Fri, Jun 29, 2007

ALPA Says Continued Northwest Delays Due To Staffing

Or Lack Of It...

This past week has been one of the hardest ever for Northwest Airlines... and leaders of the carrier's unit of the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) said Thursday NWA management's decision to cancel hundreds of flights this week was due to management's operational decisions that created inadequate pilot staffing for the summer months.

ALPA tells ANN management at Northwest recently attempted to place the blame for flight cancellations on pilot sick calls -- an excuse, the union says, which does not adequately explain the over 10 percent rate of flight cancellations that the company has experienced during the past week.

The reason for flight cancellations is that Northwest Airlines is understaffed, the union maintains.

"Northwest's flight cancellations this past week are due to insufficient staffing," NWA ALPA Spokesman Capt. Monty Montgomery said. "Pilots are not responsible for management's lack of foresight as it pertains to staffing the airline."

Representatives of the pilots' union forecasted the pilot shortage and advised management months in advance. Unfortunately for all NWA shareholders, this forecast was correct resulting in unnecessary hardships being placed on all NWA employees and customers.

NWA management could have prevented the staffing shortage by expeditiously recalling the 400 furloughed pilots not yet back to work. Instead, management decided to run the airline beyond redline during the summer months resulting in the current flight cancellations.

"First, management blames the weather and that didn't work, so now they are trying to blame the pilots," Capt. Montgomery said. "It is unfortunate management continues to seek a confrontational relationship with Northwest employees."

ALPA has even offered to work with Northwest management concerning the staffing problem -- which, the union says, is the direct result of operating so lean, that there is no slack in the system -- thus increasing the possibility that the operation will continue to break down.

In addition, Northwest pilots have been flying at their personal and contractual maximums since last year, increasing stress and fatigue, according to ALPA.

"We are the ultimate investors in Northwest Airlines. Our careers and the futures of our families are tied to the success of this airline," Capt. Montgomery said. "Northwest pilots will continue to focus on safety and work hard for the success of our airline."

FMI: www.nwaalpa.org, www.nwa.com

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