Why should the DoJ approve the AA/US merger? To solve the union problems!

That’s the story out of US Airways this week, sortof, as they announced a schedule change planned for later this year. It isn’t particularly common that cutting a flight gets a statement from the airline which makes the situation even more bizarre. But that’s what’s going on in the sandcastle these days.


The cut in question is a 3rd flight between their Phoenix hub and Maui, scheduled to operate for the peak winter season. US Airways intended to operate the flight with an aircraft from the “East” half of the company but using a crew from the “West” half thanks to a provision of their pilot contract which would change a number of work rules with the approval of the merger. But since the merger will not be approved in time the old work rules will remain and that means no mixing of east and west operations.

In an internal company newsletter Glenn Martin, director of future schedules, wrote that they planned “to use an east aircraft with PHX-based crews, which would have been allowed under the combined pilot contract effective on merger close. It would not be effective to crew this flight out of Charlotte or Philadelphia.” And because there are already 8 flights to Hawaii there are not enough planes in the West fleet to add the frequency. A US Airways spokeswoman said the planned flight “illustrates some of the benefits to customers that the merger would provide.”

So apparently they have one frequency on a seasonal route which is important enough that customers really need it to benefit. And the only way to operate the flight is to solve the pilot contract issues. And that’s going to be done via the merger and the larger AA pilot population rather than by actually addressing the two US groups. Somehow that’s supposed to be the consumer benefits we’re looking for.

That’s some pretty fuzzy math in my book.

And, to be fair, the pilots amongst themselves don’t really seem to want to solve their own issues so someone else solving them isn’t really all that awful a plan.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


  1. So basically they are saying: Look, our last merger never resolved work place issues, so we need to merge again to unify our company by adding people from another company?

    Seems as though they have some F’d up logic.

  2. And AA’s unions want to work under US’s management…what about US’s unions? They don’t seem to be working like nice little adults but rather like spoilt children. You’l have to explain this to me later today on one of our station stopts.

  3. The only thing for sure is that the two US pilot groups will have a common contract after the merger. This will solve the issue in question.
    If AA pilots (and equipment) will be on the same contract is something I cannot deduce from that article.

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