Jet Aiways Boeing 777-300 Taking off
Jet Airways, which is based in Mumbai, India and serves over 400 flights and 65 destinations, has cancelled more than 250 flights due to a standoff between pilots and the airline’s management. 432 of the 760 pilots with the airline are protesting four of their colleagues being fired. Reuters is reporting that the four pilots were sacked for trying to start a pilot’s union, the National Aviators’ Guild (NAG). However, the airlines says they were fired for “indiscipline.”
The pilots are demanding that the four pilots be re-hired before they stop protesting and the airline is demanding the dismantling of the NAG. The airline has scheduled talks for Friday in an attempt to end the stand-off. Hopefully the issue can be resolved shortly, since the continuing strike and bad press will continue to plague the airline.
Hawaiian Airlines Boeing 767-300 (N589HA) at Kahului Airport on Maui
The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), which represents the pilots of Hawaiian Airlines, started “informational picketing” today at the interisland terminal of the Honolulu International Airport. Earlier in the month the ALPA opened up a “strategic preparedness center,” near the airport to help coordinate phones and picketing, if no deal can be reached with the airline. This follows two years of unsuccessful talks between the two sides, that seems it might lead to the pilot’s going on strike.
The ALPA stated, “while progress was made, Hawaiian management still insists that any salary increases over 1%, or other contract gains, be paid for by pilots making offsetting concessions elsewhere in the contract. Based on the airline’s outstanding financial performance and the record bonuses management received last year, this lack of substantial movement has forced the pilots to call for a strike authorization vote.”
They have a valid point with profit changes. The current contract was negotiated in 2005 before Hawaiian emerged from bankruptcy and now the airline is making a profit. However, the airline business has volatile ups and downs. One quarter an airline can be in the black, making profit, the next, deep in the red and talking about bankruptcy. If an airline is going to protect itself for the bad times, then yes, it means there will be surplus in the good times.
The ALPA is seeking a 17% salary increase over four years, plus a 2.5% addition to the pension plan for pilots less than 50 years of age. The ALPA states the airline is offering only a 1% increase each year for four years, with possible additional increases in exchange for concessions in other areas.
Hawaiian Airlines’ CEO, Mark Dunkerley, states that the union is “mischaracterizing” the airlines offer and that a strike is not “imminent.” Dunkerley points out that the airline has offered its pilots a 20% increase over six years with profit sharing, for the ability to modify their bidding rules for new routes, allowing the airline to become more competitive.
The back and forth bickering sounds like a typical contract standstill. There are still quite a few steps before the pilots could strike. The union members need to authorize a strike and the government would also need to give the go ahead. Sadly, the people that lose out the most are the passengers, especially those that might be looking for a nice, much needed vacation to Hawaii.
Two British Airway's Boing 777s
It is not often when a group of people can come together, see the big picture, and be willing to take a cut in pay to potentially save a company. The British Airline Pilots Association voted 94% to cut their salaries by 2.6% and save the company about $42million per year. No one wants to have their salary cut, but 800 other staff members already agreed to work for free and thousands more took additional pay cuts. The pilots can see the writing on the wall and realize it might be better to sacrifice short-term, to save the company in the long-term.
Image: CS Chaulk
A Continental Airlines Boeing 777 landing at Newark
Details are still sparse, but what is known is a pilot died on Continental Airlines flight 61 from Brussels to Newark. The plane landed safely at Newark.
Yes, having a pilot die during the flight is never a good thing. However, the flight had two co-pilots who were more than qualified to land the plane. The plane was even able to land at its original destination.
Why is the media covering this story so much? Is the coverage related to the Air France flight 447 crash? It seems the mainstream media is picking up on any little plane incident since the Air France accident. Yes, stories like this are interesting, but it can become bothersome when it causes fear in readers about flying.
I wish all the best for the family of the pilot, but I hope everyone else realizes the plane was safe and co-pilots (even if there was only one) are trained to take over and safely land the plane.
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A dramatic view of the Grand Tetons immediately after stepping out of door 1L on an American Airlines Boeing 757-200 at Jackson Hole Airport (JAC/KJAC) in Wyoming.
The 57 year old pilot was supposed to be taking 204 passengers from London’s Heathrow to Chicago yesterday on flight AA87. Before the flight could take off, security staff alerted police who administered a breathalyzer that the pilot failed. The flight was delayed, but was able to take off after finding a replacement pilot.
Source: MSNBC Image: matt.hintsa