Company Says It's In Danger Of Losing Planes, Jobs
Regional carrier Comair says it may have to cut 850 jobs if it
can't get its unions to pony up concessions. The company told the
Cincinnati Enquirer they don't have the money to submit a bid to
keep 42 aircraft.
Negotiations with the three unions representing Comair's 6,500
workers are proceeding slower than company president Don Bornhorst
had planned. He says the slowdown is forcing his hand on a bid
deadline the company must submit to parent Delta by Monday.
Delta has its own problems to worry about as it seeks to exit
bankruptcy. It's looking for bids from regional carriers to lower
costs for its short-haul routes.
Comair is looking for just over $25 in concessions from its
three unions -- with some $16 million to come from the pilots. The
union's latest offer was just over $9 million. The company's
response to that offer was, "try again."
Talks with the pilot's union are to resume on Tuesday, but
Bornhorst is urging the union to come back to the table sooner. He
says unless they do, Comair's chance of getting a competitive bid
Comair's other option
might be to take the nearly $8 million bankruptcy court authorized
it to take in concessions from its flight attendants. So far,
Bornhorst hasn't done so, but he says if the pilot's union doesn't
come back to the table before Monday he may have to.
Bornhorst told the Enquirer on Thursday, “If we
can’t submit a competitive bid on Monday, our flying
operation will shrink. There’s no other way to put it:
we’re out of time on Monday.”
President of the union Connie Slayback says they're getting used
to company threats. They responded with their own threat to strike
if the company cuts their pay.
Comair's only bright spot is the mechanic's union. Without
sharing a lot of details, Bornhorst says a deal with that union is
For its part, Delta has already slipped Comair's bid deadline
following the accident at Lexington in September. It's accepted
bids from other regionals and says it can't
wait past Monday for Comair's.
Comair operates a fleet of nearly 170 aircraft. Delta plans to
trim some 25 off that number come next spring. In the meantime, if
Comair doesn't submit a bid by Monday, or if it's bid is not
accepted, Delta will reassign 42 planes from Comair's fleet --
presumably to the winning bidder.