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Labor Leaders Convene Annual Fractional Pilot Summit

Protecting Integrity, Viability Of Professional Piloting Focus Talks

The commonalities and challenges that bind the largest professional pilot groups who fly on behalf of fractional ownership programs focused talks at the 2015 Fractional Pilots Summit in Columbus earlier this week. The Summit, which convenes at least once each year, draws pilot labor leaders, attorneys and representatives from the NetJets Association of Shared Aircraft Pilots (NJASAP), representing the NetJets Aviation Inc., pilots, and Teamsters Local 1108, which represents the Flight Options and Travel Management Company pilot groups, and is in the process of organizing the Flexjet pilots.

"While our employers may compete, the pilot groups do not," NJASAP President Pedro Leroux said. "In fact, we share numerous similarities – chief of which is protecting the integrity and viability of professional piloting." Added Local 1108 President Efrem Vojta, "There is an impressive network of pilots and unions out there willing to share their experiences, insight and information. As professional pilots, it is evident that we will all benefit if we communicate regularly with one another."

Contract talks, in particular, were a focal point given the NetJets pilots have been in direct talks since late June 2013, and the Flight Options pilots recently began Section 6 bargaining. "From a financial performance standpoint, both NetJets and Flight Options have reported growth and profitability in recent years," Leroux pointed out. "What will be interesting is whether Flight Options management chooses to follow in NetJets CEO Jordan Hansell's footsteps by launching a full-scale attack on the pilot group's wages, benefits and working conditions on day one of talks."

Participants also received a briefing from Teamsters Representative Rick Dubinsky regarding the revitalized effort to organize the Flexjet pilot group. The Teamsters-led drive was launched to protect the interests of the pilots employed by Flight Options and Flexjet.

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