Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Southwest meets with pilots to discuss future 737-800 order

The Southwest Airlines Pilots Assn. representing the LCC's pilots was scheduled to meet Wednesday with airline management to discuss the prospect that the carrier may convert some of its future 737-700 deliveries to -800s.

"One of the primary concerns for our pilots is job security and the issues associated with adding aircraft with increased capacity while the company is actively retiring planes with less capacity," SWAPA President Capt. Carl Kuwitzky said in a statement. "We share the company's enthusiasm for the added revenue this aircraft can provide. However, we must address the aircraft's effects on pilot productivity."

Southwest Airlines Flight Attendants Union TWU Local 556 President Thom McDaniel recently said its members "are excited about the possibilities" of a 737-800 order, telling USA Today that the union "has mutually agreed [with management] to bypass the 60 days required by our contracts to reopen in an effort to come to agreement and have it ratified within the required time frame" necessary for the carrier to meet a Dec. 1 deadline to finalize the order conversion.

McDaniel added, "Our labor agreement requires that if we acquire any aircraft in addition to the 737-300, -500, -600, or -700 or implement meal or international service, our contract will be reopened to negotiate rates of pay, rules and working conditions." He said the labor group is "working very hard to…reach an agreement that will make this opportunity a reality."

(Christine Boynton - ATW News)

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