Posted on: 02 May 2011 by Mark Howells
Pilots within SkyWest, Inc. – represented by the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) – are preparing to open negotiations with the management of Atlantic Southeast Airlines (ASA), a wholly owned subsidiary of SkyWest, to achieve a Joint Collective Bargaining Agreement (JCBA) that will define compensation and work rules for the 4,300 pilots of ASA and the former ExpressJet Airlines.
Though the two airlines completed their merger in late 2010, the operations remain separate while the two pilot groups continue to work under different contracts. The merged ASA is the largest independently owned regional airline in the United States and performs flying for Delta, Continental, and United.
“With operating revenues totalling $2.77 billion last year and a substantial increase in the number of revenue flights during the first quarter of 2011, our parent company, SkyWest, Inc., and its shareholders have already had a glimpse into the synergies created by bringing ExpressJet into the family,” observed Captain William Dressler, chairman of the ExpressJet unit of ALPA. “The full value of this merger has yet to be realised; however, we anticipate that positive trends and appreciable synergies will continue as the merger nears completion and the pilots expect to share in such success. The pilots of ExpressJet and ASA provide a valuable service to our company, our partners and our passengers. These and other contributions must be recognised at the bargaining table.”
The completed JCBA is a prerequisite for the integration of the two pilot groups; any projected synergies and associated cost savings that will strengthen SkyWest’s position in the marketplace depend on this process occurring quickly and efficiently.
“Our pilots look forward to continuing to build a partnership with our management and shareholders to create a corporate platform recognised as a long-term model for the airline industry. For this to occur, our merger must result in a safe, efficient, and profitable business,” added Captain David Nieuwenhuis, chairman of the ASA unit of ALPA. “This merger must share the success of the airline with our hard-working professional pilots who provide the dedication and determination to make this merger possible. Mutual respect and good-faith compliance with our existing agreements and negotiation of our new joint collective bargaining agreement must be the foundation of this partnership.”