One Small Step For Easing Flight Cancellations?
Things may just be getting better at
Northwest Airlines. The beleaguered Eagan, MN-based airline
announced this week it reached a tentative deal with the Air Line
Pilots Association on contractual changes to pilot work rules, all
aimed at stemming the rising tide of cancelled flights over the
past two months.
Reuters reports the agreement, which is subject to approval by
the Northwest ALPA Master Executive Council, calls for changes to
several rules pertaining to international flights, as well as the
settlement of several outstanding grievances by the pilots union
against Northwest management. In exchange, the airline agreed to
reinstate overtime pay for pilots flying anything over 80 hours per
month, equal to 50 percent of regular pay, effective August 1.
As ANN has reported,
pilots were reluctant to work such overtime hours to help the
airline meet its flight schedule towards the end of June and July,
by which time many of Northwest's pilots had "timed out" after the
required 90 flight hours per month.
As a show of protest against lucrative bonuses paid to Northwest
executives -- following steep concessions to pay and benefits taken
by pilots and other employees during bankruptcy -- ALPA had
encouraged pilots to "fly the contract"... in essence, to not work
In an attempt to stave off what Northwest has called high rates
of "pilot absenteeism," the airline also proposed a 'Summer
Reliability Incentive Program" -- which calls for all contract
employees, including pilots, to receive incentive pay for perfect
attendance between August 4 and September 3.
That pay would equal 15 percent of eligible earnings, up to a
maximum of $1,000 per worker. The proposal is subject to
ratification by ALPA members.
Earlier this week, a Northwest spokesman conceded the airline
only completed about 92 percent of its scheduled flights from July
27-29, compared with the carrier's typical average completion rate
of around 99 percent. The cancellations caused Northwest some $25
million in lost revenue for the second quarter of 2007, Reuters
For a carrier just two months out of bankruptcy... that's the
last thing Northwest needed.