Bell Helicopter CEO Richard Millman yesterday emerged from the company’s booth (No. 1333) long enough to explain to HAI Convention News what he’s been up to since taking the helm of the company in January.
Economy of the United States
After nine months of intense bargaining, NetJets’ unionized pilots (represented by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters) and management reached a tentative agreement (TA) on Saturday. The move comes four years after the pilots’ contract became amendable in October 2001.
Three of the five pilots for Cleveland-based fractional aircraft operator Flight Options who are trying to organize pilots under International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 1108 (the same union that represents NetJets fractional pilots) told AIN that they soon expect to have enough organizing cards to call a vote.
United Airlines has asked for requests for proposal (RFP) from 10 regional airlines to fly up to 70 regional jets on routes now controlled by Appleton, Wis.-based Air Wisconsin. The 10 airlines include all of United’s existing partners, as well as Independence Air–the former United Express carrier turned low-fare competitor to UAL at Washington Dulles and Chicago O’Hare Airports.
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.
It had been a somewhat quiet year since the RAA staged its annual convention in St. Louis last May. Seemingly immune to the ills that have crippled their mainline counterparts for the past four years, the regional airlines finished last year with close to 30-percent traffic gains and average yields of 10 percent, leaving many wondering how long the major airlines would allow such an imbalance to continue.
A bankruptcy court judge has approved a deal between Air Wisconsin and US Airways that will see the Appleton, Wis.-based regional take an equity stake in the bankrupt major airline and fly up to 70 regional jets as US Airways Express. The arrangement centers on a $125 million loan from Air Wisconsin’s investment arm, Eastshore Aviation, that will convert to equity after US Airways’ planned emergence from bankruptcy this summer.
While general aviation interests hailed the tax law that extended the deadline for the 50-percent accelerated bonus-depreciation allowance for business aircraft, the law also contains a provision that severely limits expenses that a company may deduct when employees use an employer-provided aircraft for personal travel.
On December 23 NetJets pilots overwhelmingly elected the five-member master executive council (MEC) slate known as Strong Union. Eighty-nine percent of the more than 1,900-strong unionized fractional pilot workforce supported the candidates and delivered a vote of no confidence to the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 284.