The Air Line Pilots Association finally appears ready to play ball with Northwest Airlines as the Minneapolis-based company pushes for a new deal to allow 70-seat jets to fly within the Northwest Airlink regional network. But, as usual, ALPA has its own ideas about where those airplanes fit within the system and has proposed a separate division that would look conspicuously like US Airways’ MidAtlantic unit.
The National Air Traffic Controllers Association filed a lawsuit in late January asking a federal court to order the Federal Service Impasses Panel to resolve a bargaining issue between NATCA and the FAA that affects employees at 11 facilities. NATCA also named the Federal Labor Relations Authority in its suit.
The NTSB will hold a one-day forum on March 27 focusing on runway incursions and accidents and potential solutions. “Eliminating runway incursions and collisions is a top priority of the Safety Board and has been on our Most Wanted List since 1990,” said NTSB chairman Mark Rosenker, who will preside over the forum.
The recent Middle East Business Aviation conference (MEBA) in Dubai on January 31 and February 1 and the Asian Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition (ABACE) in Hong Kong on February 6 and 7 pulled in an estimated 5,200 combined attendees. This was the inaugural show for MEBA, which is held by the new Middle East Business Aviation Association. The event drew 90 exhibitors and more than 30 aircraft on static display.
The NTSB expressed disappointment last month over the FAA’s alleged foot-dragging on several safety recommendations, and the safety agency changed the classifications of the FAA’s responses from “acceptable” to “unacceptable.”
Some 25 pilots of Mesa Air Group picketed the company’s headquarters in Phoenix last month to publicly air a series of grievances over work rules. The main issue, according to the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), involves complaints about an alleged company practice of forcing pilots to work on their days off without any notice.
On October 29, more than four out of every five of the unionized pilots at fractional provider NetJets voted to reject a tentative agreement (TA) reached in late August (see AIN November, page 4), sending a strong message to their now former master executive council (MEC) members, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Local 284 and the company itself.
Mesaba Airlines and the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) reached a tentative agreement on a new contract last month for the airline’s 844 pilots, averting a threatened strike by a matter of hours. ALPA and Mesaba had engaged in negotiations since June 2001 to no avail, prompting the National Mediation Board to call an impasse and a 30-day “cooling off period,” after which the pilots could have legally walked off the job.
Last year, the Bush Administration unveiled its proposed “next generation air transportation system” and then cut the FAA’s facilities and equipment (F&E) budget request by nearly $400 million.
The FAA’s budgetary woes are but one symptom of the U.S. fiscal freight train that has been speeding down the track with ever greater wobbles since 9/11.