Pinnacle Airlines’ (Delta Connection) (Memphis) pilots, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), today ratified a bankruptcy restructuring contract that was tentatively agreed to in December. With more than 86 percent of eligible pilots casting ballots, 85 percent of Pinnacle pilots voted in favor of the agreement.
The new seven-year agreement includes, among other cuts, a 9 percent reduction in pay for all pilots plus longevity caps to all pay scales which will further cut the pay of more than half of Pinnacle’s pilots by as much as another 16 percent. In addition to almost 25 percent pay cuts, the deal also increases health-care costs for all pilots while reducing pilot retirement benefits by more than 50 percent for Pinnacle’s most senior pilots. In recognition of the magnitude of the pilots’ concessions, the contract also includes a bridge agreement that provides a one-time longevity transition payment and guaranteed hiring for many Pinnacle pilots at Delta Air Lines. Pinnacle Airlines flies exclusively as a Delta Connection carrier and Delta will likely own Pinnacle as a result of having provided the financing that allowed Pinnacle to reorganize.
“Management failures are responsible for Pinnacle’s current financial crisis,” Capt. Wychor added, “but only this sacrifice by the pilots could preserve a future for the airline and its employees. In that future, we will seek out new employment opportunities for our pilots who no longer see a viable career path at Pinnacle while we protect and shore up the restructured contract for those who remain.”
The pilot-ratified contract will now be submitted to the Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York for final approval.
Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. Bombardier CRJ900 (CL-600-2D24) N146PQ 9msn 15146) of Pinnacle Airlines arrives at the Atlanta hub.