Pilots at Clearwater, Fla.-based fractional provider Avantair voted for organization under the United Transportation Union (UTU) on Thursday. Among the pilots who participated in the election, 80 percent voted in favor of the union. The pilots are now represented under UTU’s transportation division, which represents only one other pilot group–at regional airline Great Lakes Aviation. “We have assured our pilots that negotiations will be made in good faith,” Avantair said.
The Transportation Trades Dept. of the AFL-CIO union group says the clock is ticking toward a March 1 federal “sequestration” deadline the organization says will imperil the U.S. National Airspace System, with $483 million in cuts to the FAA’s operations budget. Sequestration will entail mandatory furloughs among agency employees, including air traffic controllers, aviation safety inspectors and systems specialists.
Lufthansa Technik Switzerland in Basel has been unable to sustain its operations and will be closing its two line maintenance and logistics services businesses at the end of April.
“We will no longer have any operations at Basel Airport. We’re leaving the facility permanently,” a spokesman for the MRO told AIN. According to the company, the plant closure will lead to 31 job terminations, though another 29 employees will transfer to Swiss at the Basel site.
For flight department managers, the work necessary to locate the best qualified temporary pilots, flight attendants or maintenance technicians has become easier over the past decade, thanks in part to the communications technology of the Internet. However, for the handful of staffing companies that actually serve as the go-between for employers and employees, the job has become considerably tougher as those companies assume much more of the risk than before.
Finding skilled welders is an industry-wide challenge, causing AAR to rethink the answer with a public-private partnership with Goldsboro, N.C.’s Wayne Community College. Working in partnership, the two have designed an eight-week welding certificate program to address a shortage of welders at AAR Mobility Systems. A spokesman for the company said it typically takes a year to earn a welding diploma at Wayne.
The pilots of Horizon Air voted last month to extend their current labor contract for three years, creating a new six-year pact. The new contract, negotiated on behalf of the 610 pilots by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, includes wage increases, so-called quality-of-life and productivity improvements, and better job security, said the Teamsters in a statement. Among pilots who returned ballots, 77 percent voted in favor of ratification.
In a decision opening the way for Hawker Beechcraft to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy later this month, U.S. Bankruptcy Court today approved the Wichita OEM’s joint plan of reorganization. “Today’s ruling marks the final significant step in the restructuring process,” said Hawker Beechcraft CEO Steve Miller. The company said that, as part of the reorganization, it will be rebranded Beechcraft Corp.
At press time Hawker Beechcraft was expected on January 31 to seek confirmation of its plan of reorganization from bankruptcy court, allowing the company to emerge [from bankruptcy] some time in February, which is when the name change to Beechcraft Corp. will also become effective.
With Hawker Beechcraft attempting to clear the final hurdle in Chapter 11 proceedings and emerge from bankruptcy, Judge Stuart Bernstein said earlier today that he would approve the joint plan of reorganization for all but one of the subsidiaries currently under Chapter 11 protection. Bernstein reserved judgment regarding the Hawker Beechcraft Corp.
Hawker Beechcraft, in what it hopes is the final phase of Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings, saw its employment level in Kansas drop to 3,372 as of December 31, triggering an automatic reduction in the annual incentive payment from the State of Kansas. In 2010 the company was granted $45 million in incentives by the state, based on an agreement to maintain employment in Kansas at 4,000.