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Pilot Attrition Accelerates At Allegiant Air As Labor Issues Heat Up

Pilot attrition is accelerating at Allegiant Air as pilots, even senior captains with many years invested, have been leaving in increasing numbers for companies luring them with better and safer operations, better working conditions, better schedules and increased compensation and benefits packages.

A significant number of pilots have recently left and more indicate they are planning to leave Allegiant Air in pursuit of greener pastures. Flights have been cancelled and Allegiant Air continues to deploy sub service due to a lack of crews to fly their airplanes. The airline’s management and investors should equally be concerned with pilot attrition, as it has a direct impact on the operation.

Not only is Allegiant Air having trouble retaining qualified pilots, but the management team is struggling to replace the losses by attempting to hire from a dwindling pool of qualified candidates who, once exposed to the realities of employment at Allegiant Air and the difficult relationship with an anti‐union management team, often elect to leave as well.

Even as the number of new hires replacing former pilots at the airline is steadily climbing, some new hires elect not to show up for training.

The accelerating loss of pilots is not a sustainable model for the company, it’s not favorable for shareholders, and it certainly doesn’t’t offer perks for the remaining pilots on payroll. Already flying full schedules, some of the remaining pilots are finding themselves forced into covering additional flights, keeping them away from home for weeks and even months at a time.

The pilots, and the union representing them, are urging the management team to address the underlying conditions at the root of the crew shortage.

“Addressing several key issues would go a long way towards stemming the company’s losses,” said Teamsters Local 1224 President Daniel Wells, speaking on behalf of the Allegiant Air pilots. “The Teamsters have presented the company with a comprehensive proposal, to which they have refused to reply. The proposal addresses key and legitimate concerns held by the Allegiant Air pilots. An honest effort by the company to reach an agreement during contract negotiations would have a positive effect, stem the unsustainable losses they are experiencing, and allow the company to succeed going forward.”

In August 2012 the pilots overwhelmingly voted for Teamster representation. Following the union vote, working conditions at Allegiant Air began to plummet. Many pilot benefits were reduced below prior negotiated levels, resulting in a lawsuit and a court‐ordered injunction against the company which directed Allegiant Air to restore benefits to previous levels.

“We want to work with the management team at Allegiant Air to build an airline where pilots will want to come and stay,” said Wells. “It’s time to stop spending money fighting in Federal Court and blaming government regulatory agencies for operational challenges.”

The pilots have taken their concerns to management and repeatedly extended their assistance to help Allegiant Air become a sustainable, successful airline. However, offers for a team effort and support from the pilots are met with disregard and distain.

The union has begun surveying pilots who are leaving Allegiant Air in order to best identify and trend the causal factors leading to a pilot’s decision to leave. As soon as enough statistical data has been documented to ensure sound statistics, the pilots intend to present the data to their management team in another effort to stem meaningful change.

The Airline Professionals Association Teamsters Local 1224 is affiliated with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Airline Division and represents nearly 4000 members among 11 air carriers that operate both passenger and cargo aircraft. Local 1224 is the certified bargaining unit that represents all flight crew members employed by ABX Air, Inc., Allegiant Air, Atlas Air, Inc., Brendan Airways, LLC, Horizon Air Industries, Inc., Hyannis Air Services, Inc., Kalitta Air, LLC, Kalitta Charters II, LLC, Miami Air International, Omni Air International, Silver Airways Corporation, and Southern Air, Inc.

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