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Republic Airways’ 4-Year Pilot Labor TA Praised By Industry Expert

Agreement Could Be A 'Major Player In U.S. Domestic Airline Industry Of Tomorrow'

As Friday’s union vote nears on a proposed four-year pilot labor agreement between the Republic Airways Holdings and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Local 357, a leading national airline expert praises the Indianapolis-based Company’s efforts in the negotiating the Tentative Agreement and the example it sets for future agreements in the regional airline industry.

“Republic is well-positioned to be a major player in the U.S. domestic airline industry of tomorrow – an industry that will look much different than it does today,” writes Bill Swelbar, a research engineer in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s International Center for Air Transportation, where he is affiliated with the Global Airline Industry Program and Airline Industry Research Consortium.

In his latest blog post, Swelbar focuses on the future of the regional airline industry and the pilot labor agreements currently under ratification vote. “What I like about Republic’s tentative agreement are things that address the future like an early re-opener. It calls for a four-year contract, allowing for adjustments when the contract is amendable at just about the time we’ll start to see significant changes in the industry. The TA also paves the way for what appears to be a more open relationship with the company to address scheduling and operations. These issues are critical to running the very best regional airline possible. American and Envoy took a different approach – an approach some call concessionary whereas Republic is offering improvements.”

IBT Local 357 represents more than 2,200 pilots for sister companies Chautauqua Airlines, Republic Airlines and Shuttle America. About 110 Republic Airways pilots are based in the Washington, D.C., area.

Swelbar underscores the importance of regional carriers like Republic as more mainline air carriers reduce small-market service in favor of operating larger jets to service the nation’s top 100 markets along with transoceanic flying. He says regional airline companies like Republic will become hybrid carriers that offer service to many markets the mainline carriers vacate. “Ultimately, it will be Republic – assuming it can move forward with a new pilot agreement - and SkyWest who command the markets too small to be big enough for network carrier’s mainline aircraft,” Swelbar writes.

Swelbar’s experience includes 25 years in airline consulting, focusing on labor cost restructuring, regulations governing air transport and air service development on behalf of airports and communities. A member of the Board of Directors of Hawaiian (Airlines) Holdings Inc., Swelbar also has testified before Congress on the economics of commercial air transport.

FMI: www.swelblog.com, www.rjet.com

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