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Airline Division News, Week Ending March 10, 2018

Omni Pilots reach Tentative Agreement with 100% pay gains and highest starting salaries in the airline industry

Pilots at charter airline Omni Air International reached a new tentative agreement with the company on February 28th. The agreement includes major increases in pay that make Omni’s starting first officer salaries the highest in the U.S. airline industry. The pilots are represented by the Airline Professionals Association Teamsters Local 1224 and have been in negotiations with the company for almost two and a half years.

The contract addresses longstanding concerns about compensation; many Omni pilots operating under the agreement will see their pay more than double during its four-year term. The contract also includes major increases in issues related to travel, lodging and benefits, a major victory for pilots at Omni.

The Omni contract marks the latest victory for the union, which represents pilots at ten U.S.-based passenger and cargo airlines.

“Our union is committed to raising the bar for the piloting craft,” said Teamsters Local 1224 President Daniel C. Wells. “With the OMNI agreement — the latest in a string of contract victories after Allegiant and Kalitta — we have made these companies a respectable place for pilots to work. We are proud of forcing this evolution in the industry. The contract with Omni is the latest hard-fought victory for pilots in our union and throughout the trade. We are proud to be raising standards for America’s professional pilots that support decent, stable jobs for our members and their families, and we are proud to help OMNI attract and retain pilots who will keep the airline safe for its passengers.”

Based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Omni is the nation’s largest all-passenger charter airline. The company operates domestic and international flights for corporations, sports teams, government agencies, and the U.S. armed forces, among others.

“A win for pilots is a win for Omni,” said Eric Wainscott, Omni Pilots Executive Council Chairman. “With precedent-setting pay and benefits for Omni pilots, we can attract and keep our best pilots – ensuring that our passengers arrive safely and comfortably at their destinations.”

Omni pilots are expected to vote on the proposed agreement at the end of March. Additional details of the agreement will first be disclosed to and discussed with the 250 Omni pilots who are based across the country.

Allegiant Mechanics and Related join Pilots and Dispatchers as Teamsters

The mechanics and related classifications at Allegiant Air voted overwhelmingly for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters to become their collective bargaining representatives in an election with the National Mediation Board (NMB). The final vote count comes after a petition for representation was filed on December 13, 2017.

“Congratulations to all of our mechanics who voted to stand united so they can negotiate for better wages, benefits and safety standards under a Teamster contract,” said Capt. David Bourne, Director of the Teamsters Airline Division. “We’re excited to begin the negotiations process at Allegiant Air.”

Allegiant Air employs about 400 mechanics and related technicians, primarily in Las Vegas and in Sanford, Fla., but also in 10 other stations throughout the country. The Teamsters already represent pilots and flight dispatchers employed by Allegiant Air.

Colin Coffman has been working for Allegiant Air at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport for three years. He served on the organizing committee during the campaign to bring mechanics into the Teamsters Union.

“Before I worked at Allegiant, I was a Teamster for 19 years at UPS Air Cargo,” Coffman said. “They were a powerful voice for us. The solidarity was there, and it seemed like it was a family. I think workers here need that solidarity; we need that strength.”

Republic Pilots see substantial improvements in wages and benefits with new contract extension

Republic Airline pilots who are members of Teamsters Local 357 have ratified a contract extension of their 2015 collective bargaining agreement.

The extension includes immediate pay raises retroactive to January 1, 2018. Additional raises over the next 23 months provide for a total wage increase of 14 to 28 percent, dependent upon length of service. In addition to the wage increase, improvements were made to vacation accruals and company retirement contributions.

The agreement was reached well ahead of an October 2018 amendable date. The new amendable date is January 1, 2021.

“We’re pleased to have negotiated an extension that values the service Teamster pilots at Republic provide. Reaching an agreement well ahead of the original amendable date is consistent with the goal of shortened but more frequent negotiating cycles. The union leadership feels that incremental improvements have a more immediate effect, and also have the benefit that the aggregate increase will be larger than a single comprehensive agreement achieved over the same time period. This extension was ratified by 51 percent of those voting, with 85 percent participation. Those numbers suggest that this new approach will have to be proven successful to the membership through continuous improvements in the future,” said Josh LeBlanc, President of Local 357.

Teamsters Local 357, based in Plainfield, Indiana, represents over 2,000 pilots flying for Republic.

Airline Industry News

Governmental and Regulatory

Doug Parker, CEO of American Airlines, expressed disappointment that Congress had failed to provide meaningful reforms to the nation's air traffic control system. "The status quo doesn't work," he said. "If our government wants to hold onto [ATC] and be in charge of this commercial process, we need to make it work."

Airlines, Industry and Labor

United Airlines is considering the Airbus A330-800neo and Boeing New Mid-market Airplane (NMA) among options to replace its fleet of aging Boeing 757s and 767s.

Hawaiian Airlines has ordered 10 Boeing 787-9 "Dreamliner" passenger jets, expected to arrive in 2021. "The Dreamliner combines excellent comfort for our guests with fantastic operational performance, and will allow us to continue modernizing our fleet into the next decade," said Peter Ingram, Hawaiian's president and CEO.

A report from the International Air Transport Association shows that the air cargo market is off to a strong start in 2018, with traffic up 8% year-over-year in January. "We expect demand for air cargo to taper to a more normal 4.5% growth rate for 2018," said Alexandre de Juniac, CEO and director general of IATA.