Statement of Unity:
Delta’s “Blue Skies” Trans-Atlantic JVA
Must Protect Delta Pilot Jobs and Careers
August 19, 2019
On August 16, 2019, the Delta MEC filed Comments with the Department of Transportation (DOT) in response to the DOT’s tentative approval of Delta’s application to move forward with its proposed “Blue Skies” transatlantic joint venture (JV) with Air France, KLM and Virgin Atlantic. The Blue Skies JV would consolidate and replace the existing Delta-Virgin Atlantic JV and Delta-Air France-KLM JV agreements.
ALPA and the Company are currently discussing Blue Skies as part of Scope negotiations taking place outside of the Section 6 process. Our position at the bargaining table and in our DOT filing has been consistent and clear: Delta must meaningfully commit to equitable growth with its JV partners. Without an equitable growth commitment, job growth and career opportunities for Delta pilots are limited.
As the MEC’s DOT filing explains, despite claims that Delta’s initial JV with Virgin Atlantic would produce new US-UK flying opportunities for Delta and its pilots, US-UK growth has gone almost exclusively to Virgin, and Delta now flies fewer flights between London LHR and New York JFK than it did before the JV. In other words, Delta effectively used the JV to outsource flying that should have been performed by Delta pilots to a foreign airline partner. Delta’s track record gives the MEC serious cause for concern that it could attempt to use the Blue Skies JV in the same way.
To prevent that from happening, the MEC has urged the DOT to place conditions on Blue Skies to ensure that Delta realizes an equitable share of any JV growth. Among other things, DOT should impose a review to assess Blue Skies’ impact on US airline jobs and career opportunities and confirm that the JV is equitably distributing flying and growth to Delta and its pilots, and not primarily for the benefit of foreign JV partners. Click here
to read the filing in its entirety.
Scope and joint ventures matter to the Delta pilots. Section 1 is the foundation of our contract, and we will continue to enforce and seek enhancements to our scope language. We need—and the Delta pilots deserve—assurances that Delta is committed to equitable growth as the Company has repeatedly stated. It is time for Delta management to back up its words with actions.