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ALPA and the Regionals

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ALPA and the Regionals

Old 21st Jun 2020, 00:23
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ALPA and the Regionals

This is a quote from an article that is from 2017. It was discussing the 1500 flying hour rule that they have supported and continue to support. I found it interesting that this was said to be their strategy. Anybody agree?

"Pilots, labor consultants and safety specialists know the rule was designed to create a pilot shortage so pilot pay would increase. interVistas Consulting’s William Swelbar first made that argument during his time at MIT researching regulatory impact on community air service. FlightPath Economics Partner Dan Akin came to the same conclusion that ALPA was out to get rid of regionals.

ALPA was highly successful since we have far fewer regionals today and new-hire salaries run between $40,000 and $65,000, not including the cost of training, tuition remission and benefits.

Many regionals invest $100,000 in new-hire bonuses, salaries and training. But many report they make that investment only to see the pilot go to a major carrier in as little as eight months prompting yet another concern.

What about the safety implications of the super rapid advancement from first officer of a regional airline to the right seat of a mainline jet? We don’t know. ALPA talks about wanting experience but says nothing about this issue. Clearly the mere fact these pilots are now working for a mainline airline does not make them magically safer or more experienced. Will it take another accident before we know those implications? I thought we rejected that philosophy in favor of using data to improve safety. Wouldn’t it be better to take a holistic approach to the problem?

So ALPA short-term politics was successful in achieving its money goals, but in the long term it has and will cost untold number of new pilot jobs. In addition, nearly 50 communities have lost air service with 200 more at risk, according to InterVistas Consulting President Deborah Meehan. That would eliminate $121 billion in economic activity for these communities. Regionals used to serve 800 communities. The number has dropped to less than 400.

ALPA says it’s an airline’s economic decision whether or not to serve a point. Airlines and airports counter saying regional operations would expand to these very airports were it not for the pilot shortage. So, in its quest to rid itself of these troublesome regionals, ALPA has stifled that expansion and jobs with its pilot shortage.

ALPA was right about pre-rule regional pay but there was more to the story and here’s where ALPA’s role in low regional pilot pay comes in. Remember, ALPA negotiated that low pay.

ALPA’s regional dues-paying members needed support from their major carrier counterparts to pressure their carriers to pay more for their regional Capacity Purchase Agreements (CPAs) so regional wages could rise. ALPA stopped short of using this holistic approach even though it knew it mattered a great deal. The union says it is not part of the CPA negotiations but it could have been had it cared enough to make the issue part of their negotiating capital. When regionals did develop better pilot contracts, airlines refused to the change the CPAs.

Many regionals, including Republic Airways and Pinnacle Airlines, went bankrupt as a result of new pilot contracts and mainline refusal to increase remuneration for their regional CPAs. Was that the idea ALPA had in the first place? What about those ALPA members who lost their jobs? Thus, my conclusion that ALPA is less about safety and more about getting rid of regionals."
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