The U.S. regional airline industry will shrink over the next three years as new regulations governing pilot employment and structural changes precipitated by new, less profitable code-share contracts and pilot-union scope clauses take hold, Republic Airways CEO Bryan Bedford predicted during a February 27 conference call to brief analysts on his company’s fourth-quarter earnings.
JSfirm.com, an online aviation-specific employment board operator, recently released the results of its fifth annual hiring trends survey. The survey not only looked back at the results from the past year, but noted some positive indications for the coming year as well. “This annual survey has proved to be accurate in past years at forecasting the hiring trends and is eagerly anticipated by the aviation industry,” said Jeff Richards, the company’s operations manager. Four hundred companies across various sectors of the industry provided the data for the survey.
A meeting between company officials and the Flight Options pilot union planned for today and tomorrow is intended to address issues arising from the consolidation of fractional-share operations Flexjet and Flight Options. Flight Options parent Directional Aviation Capital purchased Flexjet from Bombardier last December for about $195 million.
While the Regional Airline Association and regional airline management point to new rules governing flight time experience for first officers as the primary reason for a pilot shortage that has resulted in a loss of service to several U.S. communities, pilots contend the airlines have made their own mess by creating a business model predicated on breadline wages for cockpit crew. The Air Line Pilots Association, for one, argues that there’s no shortage of pilots, only a shortage of pilots willing to fly for substandard wages and inadequate benefits.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) on March 26 released a comprehensive review of the November 2013 shooting incident at Los Angeles International airport in which a TSA employee was killed. Immediately following the November attack, the TSA stepped up local and state law enforcement patrols at major airports. The TSA report said new agency protocols should enhance the safety and security of its employees, as well as airline passengers.
The NetJets Association of Shared Aircraft Pilots (NJASAP) and International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 284 executive boards launched the NetJets Unions Coalition last week, citing “minimal progress and unjustifiable demands” during ongoing contract talks. NJASAP represents the more than 3,000 NetJets pilots, while Local 284 represents some 500 NetJets dispatchers, flight attendants, maintenance controllers, mechanics and stock clerks.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) is preparing to reduce its staff by 20 percent in the face of government budget cuts. Safety inspectors, mostly based in Canberra, make up just over half of the 110 personnel who might be let go. The union representing the safety inspectors is fighting the planned cuts.
The FAA wants to fine Whirlybird Helicopters $55,125 for allegedly violating DOT drug and alcohol testing regulations. The agency said Whirlybird failed to conduct pre-employment drug tests on eight employees before hiring them to perform safety-sensitive functions on the company’s helicopters. The agency also alleges three of these employees were not in Whirlybird’s random testing pool as required by DOT regulations. The company has 30 days to appeal the penalty.
In a move designed to promote economic development and position a more strongly aligned workforce, Illinois’ Greater Rockford Airport Authority (GRAA) and Rock Valley College (RVC) have combined efforts to create an expanded aviation maintenance technology program.
Rufino Sanchez, a former FAA assistant controller at New York Center, was sentenced in a New York District Court on February 14 to four years probation and six months of home detention for theft of union funds and falsification of records. Sanchez, a 36-year FAA employee, once served as president for the Local R-310 branch of the National Association of Government Employees, a position that gave him unfettered access to union funds. Sanchez used union money to cover personal expenses and also filed false reports to the U.S. Labor Department about the union’s finances.