Northwest Airlines has presented its pilot union leaders with a plan to start a new subsidiary specifically to replace the airline’s aged Douglas DC-9s with 70- to 100-seat regional jets. Employee compensation would fall to levels common among regional airlines flying 50- and 70-seat RJs, meaning Northwest’s DC-9 pilots would earn about half what they earn now and lose pension and 401(k) benefits.
SkyWest Airlines parted ways with Continental Airlines earlier this year in large part because the Houston-based major airline wanted its regional partner to fly 50-seat Saab 2000s, SkyWest CEO Jerry Atkin told AIN during last month’s RAA convention in Cincinnati.
Bombardier announced a 100,000-sq-ft expansion plan at its factory-owned service center at Love Field in Dallas. Construction will begin in the fall and is expected to take one year.
A federal district court judge struck a severe blow to the management of Mesaba Airlines last month when he overturned an earlier bankruptcy court ruling that gave the company permission to reject its labor contracts with its pilots, mechanics and flight attendants. Judge Michael Davis of the U.S.
The management of Mesaba Airlines issued a proposal for pay concessions to its pilots last month that, if adopted, would slash salaries by between 13 and 19 percent. The proposal calls for a 19-percent pay cut for Avro RJ captains, a 17-percent decrease for Saab 340 captains and a 13-percent reduction for Bombardier CRJ captains. First officers would face an average pay cut of 13 percent.
Bankrupt Northwest Airlines has turned the financial screws on its existing Airlink partners by asking for bids from several regional airlines to fly RJs carrying up to 76 passenger seats.
Gordon Newstrom, founder of Mesaba Aviation, died in December. He was 93. An expert floatplane pilot, Newstrom in 1944 founded Mesaba Aviation, the predecessor to Mesaba Airlines.
The experiment in discount-fare, 50-seat RJ flying known as Independence Air (formerly Atlantic Coast Airlines) ended once and for all when the company transported its last passenger on January 5, a year and a half after it severed ties with former mainline partner United Airlines.
The pilots of Northwest Airlines have threatened to strike if management proceeds with plans to launch a new regional airline as proposed in a newsletter distributed to the company’s 34,000 employees last month. Tentatively named NewCo, the new unit would replace Northwest’s DC-9s with one hundred five 77- to 100-seat jets flying as a Northwest Airlink affiliate.
ExpressJet began shopping in earnest for a new mainline partner last month as Continental Airlines prepared to ask for bids from other regional airlines to fly roughly a quarter of the Continental Express network. Continental formally notified ExpressJet that it planned to withdraw 69 of the 274 Embraer regional jets from their capacity purchase agreement after the sides failed to reach terms on a new service contract.