Pilots Want Assurance Partnership With ATA Will Not Hinder
On Wednesday, Southwest Airlines pilots began voting on a
referendum to determine a schedule for upcoming formal contract
negotiations with the airline, as well as a one-year extension of
the current contract amendable date to Aug. 31, 2007.
While the referendum continues for the next 30 days, the
Association’s Negotiating Committee is beginning discussions
with Southwest Airlines company officials on a codeshare side
agreement. SWAPA has been involved in talks with the company on
codeshare since Southwest entered into its current codeshare
agreement with ATA in late 2004.
"Our current contract does not have any language addressing
codesharing in general or the codeshare agreement with ATA
specifically," said SWAPA Vice President Capt. Carl Kuwitzky.
"Upheavals throughout the rest of the airline industry have
triggered mergers, acquisitions and bankruptcies focusing much
attention on Southwest and our profitability."
"SWAPA wants to ensure, should codesharing continue with ATA or
future partners, that it will result in continued fleet growth for
Southwest Airlines and thus benefit our pilots," added
The pilots’ current contract was negotiated in 1994, and
extended in 2002 with an "amendable" date of August 31, 2006. Under
provisions of the Railway Labor Act, airline contracts do not
expire, per se... but become "amendable" or subject to change upon
request by either the pilots' union, or the company.
committee is conducting ongoing discussions with company officials
on issues related to the ATA codeshare, which allows Southwest and
ATA to jointly market a flight operated by either or both of the
Southwest Airlines entered into the codeshare agreement with ATA
Airlines as part of that airline's emergence from bankruptcy. The
agreement allowed Southwest to acquire some ATA assets, and to
expand its marketing territory with connecting ATA service to New
York City LaGuardia, Washington, DC Reagan, Dallas-Ft. Worth
International and Hawaii.