United Airlines pilots resist contract changes over
Send a link to a friend
[September 22, 2018]
By Allison Lampert
(Reuters) - United Airlines <UAL.O> pilots
said they refuse to budge on the wording of their contract governing the
outsourcing of regional flights.
President of the U.S. No. 3 carrier, Scott Kirby, has called for changes
to the so-called "scope clause" which sets guidelines on the size of
planes that can be operated by regional feeder carriers, among other
A scope clause restricts planes heavier than 86,000 pounds (39,000 kg)
with more than 76 seats from regional routes, where pilots are generally
paid less than their mainline counterparts.
"We are holding the line," said Todd Insler, chairman of the unit of the
Air Line Pilots Association that represents United pilots. “We have no
intention of degrading scope.”
The United negotiations are being watched by other airlines entering
labor talks, along with commercial planemakers Embraer SA <EMBR3.SA> of
Brazil and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd <7011.T> of Japan, which are
building new planes that are too heavy to be flown by regional carriers
because they exceed the scope clause weight.
A United spokeswoman on Friday referred to earlier remarks by Kirby.
Kirby has said changing the scope clause would make the carrier more
competitive against rivals American Airlines <AAL.O> and Delta Air Lines
[to top of second column]
A United Airlines Boeing 767-400ER aircraft takes off from Zurich
Airport January 9, 2018. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo
Insler disagreed with that.
"We won't use regional jets to disadvantage our mainline employees, pilots,
flight attendants, anyone else," Kirby told analysts at a conference earlier
this month. "Having competitive scope, however, is really important to being the
best. We can't have one hand tied behind our back and try to compete with AA and
Pilots have asked United to shift flights from regional carriers to the main
airline because smaller carriers use less-efficient 50-seater planes and have
faced problems recruiting pilots in a competitive market, according to Insler.
Major carriers have generally been reluctant to make regional flights part of
the mainline operations, citing higher costs. "It's very difficult to make those
aircraft work at any mainline airline," United Chief Financial Officer Gerald
Laderman told analysts at a conference earlier this month.
(Reporting by Allison Lampert in Montreal; additional reporting by Tracy
Rucinski in Chicago; editing by Bill Rigby and Diane Craft)
[© 2018 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2018 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Thompson Reuters is solely responsible for this content.