American, US Airways Pilots Get Combined Seniority List

By Paul Riegler on 7 September 2016
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An arbitration panel resolved a major issue on Tuesday in the ongoing integration of American Airlines and US Airways when it handed down a ruling that would integrate pilots from both carriers.

The difficulty in finalizing the integration had stemmed from the issues US Airways had had in integrating its two pilots groups following its merger with America West in 2005.

American Airlines said it was pleased that the process had been resolved.

“While the company was neutral on how the list shook out and did not advocate for any particular outcome, this is a very important, very sensitive issue that affects every one of us as pilots,” said Kimball Stone, the airline’s vice president of flight in a message to pilots. “The most important factor in the implementation of the combined seniority list is that it will enable our pilots to move throughout the system to new domiciles and equipment through the regular vacancy bidding process.”

The Allied Pilots Association, which represents all of the airline’s pilots, had remained neutral throughout the process as well and said it would begin to work with the airline to implement the seniority list.

“As the collective bargaining agent for all pilots flying for the new American Airlines, APA has been committed to a list integration process that results in a fair and equitable outcome consistent with existing law and applicable agreements,” the union said in a message to its members.

The panel of three arbitrators discarded the so-called Nicolau list, which came about from a 2008 binding arbitration overseen by arbitrator George Nicolau that attempted to merge pilots from US Airways and America West. Instead, it first created a seniority list for pilots from those two airlines and then merged that list with the list of legacy American Airlines pilots. The final list comprised some 15,000 pilots.

The panel said it had weighted the new seniority list with 15% towards longevity and 85% towards the pilot’s existing category and status with the airline.

The seniority list determines what flights a pilot can work and what aircraft he can fly as well as governing time off and vacation time. Those at the top of the seniority list get first choice each month on the trips they will fly.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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