Wednesday, November 26, 2008

NWA flight attendants union sues Delta
Tuesday, November 25, 2008 - 11:39 AM ESTDayton Business Journal - by
Liz Riggs DBJ Contributor

The union representing Northwest Airlines flight attendants is suing Delta Air Lines Inc. to prevent the carrier from integrating the pre-merger Delta and Northwest seniority lists, saying the action is premature.

According to the suit filed Nov. 11 in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., the
Association of Flight Attendants-CWA believes that moving ahead with integration before the combined group has the opportunity to vote on union representation constitutes “unlawful interference [by Delta] ... with the rights of those employees to choose their representative and to organize and bargain effectively.”

Atlanta-based Delta (NYSE: DAL) acquired Northwest on Oct. 29. Delta’s flight attendants are not represented by a union; Northwest’s are.

According to the suit, Delta has said it could take up to 12 to 24 months to fully merge the operations of the two carriers and obtain a single operating certificate from the
Federal Aviation Administration. Because Delta has not yet received the certificate, the suit alleges the seniority integration process is inappropriate.

Delta is the largest airline flying out of the
Dayton International Airport.
E-mail Call (937) 528-4400.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

November 14, 2008, 11:12 am
JetBlue Pilots Move To Form Union
Posted by Matt Phillips

On Thursday, JetBlue filed for U.S. regulatory approval to form the low-cost airline’s first labor union, a move that pilots say will position them to cope with future management that may be less friendly to labor, Dow Jones Newswires reports.

“We have complete faith in our current company leadership and believe that this will be a cooperative effort,” Michael Sorbie, the pilots’ spokesman, said in a letter to the National Mediation Board, the agency that oversees airline labor issues. Sorbie added that “as our airline matures, we want to ensure that the career expectations of our pilots will remain intact regardless of organizational changes.”
The letter was posted on the pilot group’s Web site.

JetBlue spokesman Bryan Baldwin said Thursday that “we have been advised that it is JBPA’s intention to file a petition for election, but have not yet been notified by the National Mediation Board. We believe direct relationship with the company is in our pilots’ best interest.”

The pilots group has asked to be an independent negotiator for JetBlue pilots, rather than join an existing union. A spokesperson for the pilots couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. Once the request is approved, pilots can vote on union representation.

The New York carrier was founded in 2000 as a non-union airline, a rarity in an industry where union organizing - particularly for pilots - has been the standard. David Neeleman, the innovative entrepreneur who started JetBlue, referred to all employees as “crew members”. The airline strove to foster a work-friendly atmosphere that circumvented typical labor-management confrontations.

The airline flourished in its early years, offering low ticket prices and good service. It grew as much as 30% a year, and became a Wall Street favorite, making a profit even as major U.S. airlines lost money and struggled to streamline their organizations during a long industry downturn.

JetBlue now is the major carrier at its New York hub at JFK International Airport, employing more than 9,000 workers.
November 18, 2008, 2:21 pm

Has American Airlines Turned Around Its Operation?
Posted by Scott McCartney

As we’ve reported several times in different stories, AMR Corp.’s American Airlines has been struggling with its operation for more than the past year. American officials now admit they went too far in cost-cutting, and the lack of spare parts, spare employees and spare airplanes, combined with overly optimistic schedules, has led to bottom-of-the-industry dependability. Add in continued battles between labor and management and you have one late airline.

American is now trying to turn that around, primarily by building more cushion into its operation. The carrier has added minutes to scheduled flight times, bulking up because delays are measured by comparing actual arrival time at gates with scheduled arrival time. The airline says it has also sped up cruise speeds for flights it slowed down to save fuel, and increased the ground time between flights.

But has the airline turned around yet? On Tuesday, American’s public relations firm, Weber Shandwick, sent a pitch to reporters suggesting a pre-holiday trend story on “American’s Improving Dependability Ratings.” The pitch said American moved from 58.8% on-time performance in June to 83.6% “as of mid-October, advancing its ratings by about 16 percent on average between July and September.”

Comparing airline on-time results in June with mid-October is a bit like comparing the temperature in those months and declaring global warming concerns are dead. Air travel is impacted heavily by summer storms, summer crowds and summer congestion at airports and in the sky. Dependability has improved for every airline this fall as a result of severe schedule cuts that reduced a lot of congestion. And fall is a better flying season for airlines than summer.
So in proper comparisons, how is American faring?

The best way to compare dependability is to compare airlines, since they all fly more or less in the same weather and congestion. (Airlines with heavy presence in New York do have it tougher than others, as we’ve noted before.) According to the Department of Transportation, American ranked eighth among the ten major airlines for dependability in September, the most recent month the government has reported. According to, a flight-tracking service, American was again eighth among ten majors in October. So far this month, FlightStats shows American with an on-time percentage of 80.32%, which ranks — you guessed it — eighth among ten majors.

But American is running better than it did a year ago. In September, for example, 81.5% of its flights arrived within 15 minutes of schedule, the DOT’s definition of “on-time.” In September 2007, only 78.5% of American’s flights arrived on time, according to DOT. In October, FlightStats counted 81.6% of American’s flights on-time, compared to only 74.3% in October 2007. In the first 15 days of November, American had 80.3% of its flights arrive on time, compared to 78.1% in the same period last year, according to FlightStats.

So dependability has been somewhat better. But it’s been better for other airlines as well.
The real proof, of course, is with the passengers.