Wed, Apr 11, 2012
Delta Could Become The Only Customer For The Regional Carrier
The union representing pilots flying for Pinnacle Airlines says the very survival of the regional carrier depends on a fair contract that will allow the airline to attract and retain qualified pilots. That statement came from Tom Wychor, chair of the pilots union, in an interview with the MinnPost.
Wychor said the pilots had offered concessions of pay cuts ranging from five to seven percent in the near term as the bankruptcy loomed, but the company said it needed a permanent 5% reduction in pilots salaries.
As the bankruptcy plays out, Delta Airlines, which contracts with Pinnacle to fly as Delta Connection, has been stressing delivery of a consistent level of service across its brands. Pinnacle has come to the end of contracts with US Airways and United Airlines, leaving Delta as the only customer for its regional jets. Wychor said in the interview that the cuts would result in the loss of about 800 pilots' jobs.
ALPA has awarded the Pinnacle pilots union a $2.5 million grant to use in the bankruptcy proceedings. Wychor said the union is willing to make some concessions to be part of the successful emergence from bankruptcy, but that it will need to see a good labor deal as part of the package.
Wychor said that a pilot will typically spend between $80,000 and $150,000 for a college degree and flight training before being considered by a regional airline ... which on average pays between $25,000 and $30,000 per year in starting salary. He said most pilots make between $30,000 and $70,000.
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