In the News

US Airways Makes Executive Changes

Charlotte Business Journal

US Airways Group Inc. has promoted a pair of executives to new posts, naming Keith Bush senior vice president of finance and Ryan Price vice president of human resources.

Bush, who was vice president of financial planning and analysis, takes over a position previously held by Derek Kerr, who was promoted to chief financial officer in 2009. Bush will lead the airline’s insurance and risk-management divisions, in addition to continuing his role in handling the carrier’s operating budgets and overseeing long-range planning. He will report to Kerr.

“We are very pleased to recognize the significant contributions Keith has made to our company,” Kerr says. “Keith is a proven leader and since joining our team, he has played a key role in the continued development of our finance organization. We look forward to his continued contributions.”

Meanwhile, Price succeeds Dan Pon as vice president of human resources. Pon is leaving US Airways at the end of the year, the company says.

Price, who joined the company in April as managing director of compensation and benefits, will oversee US Airway’s health and retirement benefits, compensation, and employee relations.

“Ryan possesses the right combination of skills to lead our people-services division during these economically challenging times and serve as a champion for our 32,000 co-workers,” says Elise Eberwein, executive vice president of people, communications and public affairs. “Under Ryan’s leadership, we look forward to continuing to build upon the solid foundation put into place by Dan over the past four years.”

US Airways is based in Tempe, Ariz., and operates its largest hub at Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

How US Airways Gave Up on LaGuardia

By Edward Russell
NYC Aviation

The US Airways terminal at LaGuardia Airport can be eerily quiet these days. At one time home to the largest airline operation at the airport, the once bustling corridors are now dominated by US Airways Express flights to regional destinations operated, by and large, by some of the smallest commercial aircraft serving the airport. 

Those corridors won't be quiet for long. The US Department of Transportation (DOT) has tentatively approved a deal where US will transfer 132 slot pairs at LaGuardia to Delta Air Lines in exchange for 42 slot pairs at Washington Reagan National Airport, the rights to operate a daily flight to Sao Paulo, Brazil beginning in 2015 and $66.5 million in cash. Delta will in turn take over part of the airline's terminal (also known as Terminal C or the East End Terminal) at the New York airport and connect it with its adjacent Terminal D. Once the deal closes—the LaGuardia portion of which the US Department of Justice approved on October 11—US will be left with just its Shuttle service to Boston and National as well as flights to Charlotte, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

US Airways has, for all intents and purposes, given up on LaGuardia.

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Retired Delta Pilots to File Unprecedented Appeal with PBGC

Group seeks to regain over $600 million in pension benefits lost during Delta bankruptcy

The Business Journals

ATLANTA, Oct. 12, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The Delta Pilot's Pension Preservation Organization (DP3, Inc.), a group representing the interests of over 6,000 retired Delta pilots, is preparing to file an administrative appeal with the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) aimed at recovering approximately $600 million in lost qualified pension benefits.

The consolidated appeal, currently scheduled to be filed on October 28 by the Washington, D.C. based law firm Miller &Chevalier Chartered, will challenge the rules the PGBC applied when calculating final benefits for over 3,500 retired Delta pilots. DP3 contends that PBGC's internal procedures have artificially reduced retired Delta pilots' benefits by an estimated $600 million; this equates to an average loss of approximately $1,200 per month for affected pilots.

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Air Canada flight attendants reject agreement

By Rob Gillies
Associated Press

TORONTO – Canada's labor minister said Monday that a work stoppage at Air Canada is unacceptable, responding to a vote by flight attendants to reject a second tentative deal and serve strike notice.

Air Canada, the country's largest airline, could face a strike Thursday after flight attendants rejected a second tentative offer on Sunday.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees, which represents 6,800 flight attendants, said 65% of those who voted rejected the deal. The flight attendants also turned down an offer in August, triggering a new round of contract talks last month.

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US Airways Captain Describes Airport Eviction

By Ted Reed
TheStreet

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- For the first time, a US Airways (LCC) captain has publicly described an incident where two security officials escorted her from the airport's secure area after she would not fly a plane from Philadelphia to Rome because of electrical system problems.

Captain Valerie Wells, a 30-year pilot, discussed the June 16 incident on Friday in U.S. District Court in Charlotte, where she was the star witness in the pilots union's defense against the airline's suit alleging that a safety campaign is actually an illegal job action.

The airline is seeking an injunction to halt the "safety slowdown." Testimony will continue Monday.

"I was exercising my authority as captain to operate the aircraft safely," said Wells. "It was indeed my obligation, but I feel stronger about it than my job. Those passengers are friends of the family. (And) that's an aircraft the company owns."

Besides the passengers and the aircraft, Wells said, her concerns included the airplane's crew. "I felt especially that night that all those things were in danger," she said.

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Judge : US Airways labor lawsuit can proceed

By Ely Portillo
The Charlotte Observer

A federal judge in Charlotte ruled today that a US Airways lawsuit accusing the airline's pilots union of a work slowdown can proceed, denying the union's motion to dismiss the suit.

A hearing on the case is set for Friday morning in Charlotte's federal court. A judge could decide then whether or not to order the union to stop the alleged slowdown.

US Airways sued its own pilots union, the US Airline Pilots Association, in late July. The airline claims that pilots are deliberately slowing operations by doing things such as calling in sick, slow taxiing to and from gates and writing up unnecessary maintenance items. The pilots, US Airways says, are aiming for leverage in contract negotiations.

But USAPA had already filed a federal suit against US Airways in May. That lawsuit, filed in federal court in New York, accuses US Airways of a campaign to intimidate pilots who raise safety concerns through actions including calling them in for disciplinary hearings veiled as informational interviews and firing two pilots.

The pilots claim that the airline places on-time statistics above safety and is cutting corners on maintenance and disciplining pilots to get planes into the air quickly.

In its motion filed last week, USAPA asked the court in Charlotte to either dismiss the company's lawsuit or move it to federal court in New York, so that it could be tried along with the union's suit.

U.S. Chief District Judge Robert Conrad denied the motion, which means that a hearing in the case now set for 10 a.m. Friday will proceed.

US Airways, Pilots Face Off

By Susan Carey
Wall Street Journal

US Airways Group Inc. will be back in court Friday when a federal judge in Charlotte, N.C., is expected to hear the airline's request for a preliminary injunction to halt an alleged illegal job action of its pilots' union.

The carrier last week was denied a temporary restraining order that it sought against the union, which the airline had sued late last month over the alleged job action.

The airline claims the union's campaign has been causing flight delays and the cancellation of nine to 10 flights a day on average since May.

Baggage being unloaded from a U.S. Airways jet last month in Boston. The carrier alleged in a July lawsuit that late flights have increased.

The US Airline Pilots Association union, which represents US Airways' 4,200 pilots, said Friday that it was "very pleased with the judge's action" not granting the airline's request for the restraining order.

Capt. James Ray, the union's spokesman, reiterated that the Usapa "does not sponsor or encourage" the alleged activity. "The union does, however, support a change in the company's safety culture," he said.

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US Airways/Union Hearing Set for August 19

By Ted Reed
The Street

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A federal judge has tentatively set Aug. 19 as the date for a hearing on US Airways'(LCC) request for a preliminary injunction to halt a safety campaign by the airlines pilots union.

"I think the airline is entitled to a resolution of this dispute in an efficient manner," said U.S. District Court Judge Robert Conrad, near the conclusion of a hearing Friday. "The [union] is entitled to enough time to defend the allegation."

Conrad did not immediately issue a temporary restraining order, as the airline had sought. Nor did he agree to transfer jurisdiction to a U.S. District Court in New York, a move sought by the union, which filed a case against the airline there in May.

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No ruling made in US Airways case

By Eleanor Kennedy
The Charlotte Observer

US Airways and its pilots union may have to wait at least one more week for a ruling on an alleged pilot work slowdown.

A federal judge decided not to rule Friday on a petition for a temporary restraining order against the US Airline Pilots Association, the pilot union for Tempe, Ariz.-based US Airways.

A hearing on a preliminary injunction against the group is scheduled for next Friday. That hearing date is subject to change, however, based on filings in the coming week.

US Airways claims pilots are causing flight delays and writing up unnecessary maintenance items. The airline also says the union is revealing pilots who refuse to participate.

On Friday, Judge Robert Conrad Jr. said the issues raised gave him "great pause," but he's eager "to get to the bottom" of the lengthy dispute. He asked for a response from US Airways on the union's motion to dismiss, transfer or postpone the case.

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