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Aviation Industry Updates: December 27, 2022

By December 27, 2022January 3rd, 2023Industry News

United ALPA Chairman Steps Down After Just 48 Hours

  • The controversial leader of the United Airlines pilots union stepped down late Wednesday after just two days on the job, dislodged by a series of derogatory texts he had written about women and minorities.

  • Shortly after 11 p.m. ET Wednesday, the United master executive council posted a letter from Neil Swindells, who offered his resignation as chairman of the United chapter of the Air Line Pilots Association, which represents United’s 15,000 pilots.
  • “He was pressured,” said a United pilot who asked not to be named. “There was overwhelming pilot feedback to their representatives, and under pressure he resigned.” The negative feedback included a letter writing campaign.
  • Also under pressure was Wendy Morse, chairperson of the Chicago United ALPA chapter, who nominated Swindells to be chairman, pilots said. Morse is slated to take office as national vice president of ALPA next month. “Even (Swindells’) supporters flipped on him,” said another pilot who asked not to be named. “They realized it would be bad for them.”
  • For the moment, Mike Harrison, the vice chairman of United ALPA, becomes interim chairman.

Forbes

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‘Travel insanity’: U.S. Passengers Stranded By Winter Storm

KEY POINTS:

  • More than 3,800 U.S. airline flights were canceled on Monday, including 2,800 operated by Southwest, or nearly 70% of the carrier’s total scheduled for the day, according to the flight tracking service FlightAware.
  • “Challenges are impacting our customers and employees in a significant way that is unacceptable,” Southwest said in a statement, citing “consecutive days of extreme winter weather.”
  • The Dallas-based airline, one of the world’s largest low-cost carriers, said it anticipated the disruptions would continue in the days heading into the New Year holiday travel period at the end of the this week.
  • The resulting surge in cancellations and delays, coupled with long lines and missing luggage at airports, spoiled wintertime vacation plans for countless U.S. airline customers during one of the busiest travel periods of the year.

Reuters

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Mesa CEO on breakup with American |‘Not going to drown in an inch of water’

KEY POINTS:

  • The severing of regional US carrier Mesa Airline’s contract to operate on behalf of American Airlines in favour of a tentative five-year deal with United Airlines represents a significant shake-up in the regional airline industry. But accounts differ on how the relationship soured between Mesa and American.
  • Jonathan Ornstein, Mesa’s longtime chief executive, bristled at the suggestion that American initiated the breakup due to Mesa’s struggles during a 23 December interview with FlightGlobal.
  • “While the pilot shortage has created significant challenges recently, I would suggest that our operational performance over the last 10 years has certainly been no worse than mainline American,” he says.
  • American Airlines did not comment on Orntstein’s remarks.
  • In an internal memo to Mesa employees, Ornstein says the carrier’s operation with American was losing about $5 million monthly due to higher pilot pay rates and penalties for not meeting contracted block-hour requirements – meaning it wasn’t flying enough.
  • “We would have been happy to maintain a relationship with American. We just couldn’t afford to do it,” he tells FlightGlobal. “We can’t afford to lose $5 million a month. That’s a lot of money for us. We’re losing 50 to 60 pilots a month, watching our block hour production collapse. What else could we do? We had to get out from under this.”

Flight Global

Delta Adds 6 New Routes That Go Head To Head Against American

KEY POINTS:

  • The network planners at Delta Air Lines have been busy this holiday season.
  • The Atlanta-based carrier filed six new domestic routes over the Christmas weekend, as first seen in Cirium schedules and later confirmed by an airline spokesperson.
  • The new flights won’t start until spring 2023 (at the earliest), but they are all available for purchase as of Sunday, Dec. 25, giving travelers dreaming of warm-weather escapes plenty of possible destinations.
  • Most of the new routes will be operated by Delta Connection affiliate Republic Airways using the 76-seat Embraer E175 regional jet, which features 12 first-class recliners, 20 Comfort+ extra-legroom seats and 44 economy seats in a comfortable 2-2 configuration.
  • Delta will operate flights between Washington, D.C., and both Miami and Orlando using an Airbus A320, which features 157 seats. Delta’s A320s sport 16 first-class recliners, 18 Comfort+ extra-legroom seats and 123 economy seats.
  • While these routes are all new to Delta’s schedule, many of them have been operated in years past. For instance, the Boston-to-Memphis flight last operated in January 2014, while the service from Boston to Louisville last regularly operated in June 2008, Cirium schedules show.
  • Delta will not hold a monopoly on any of these six routes when each commences. In fact, American Airlines operates service in all six markets, meaning that Delta will go head-to-head against one of its biggest competitors on each route.

The Points Guy

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