chairmans_letter.png

Fellow Delta Pilots,

As we approach the holiday season, I want to thank each of you for supporting ALPA, our collective bargaining goals and for all you do to help Delta run the best operation in the world. We hear about the Delta Difference frequently – and the Delta pilots make the Delta Difference possible every day as leaders on the front line. We have just concluded a regular MEC meeting in Long Beach, CA.  I want to provide a quick update on negotiations and Blue Skies – as well as share my thoughts on the tailwinds at our back as we march toward the Dec. 31 amendable date.

Negotiations

Both the ALPA and Company negotiating teams have devoted a significant amount of time to contract talks over the last month. This includes a series of “off-site” negotiations, which theoretically foster an efficient environment for the timely and thorough exchange of proposals. Unfortunately, despite management’s time commitment to the “off-sites,” we are not seeing enough timeliness nor substance in the Company’s proposals – especially as we approach the amendable date.

Talks without progress are, quite frankly, a waste of time and resources. I implore the Company to recommit to submitting proposals that are commensurate with Delta’s profit and loss statement. Substantive term sheets will go a long way toward showing Delta pilots that management recognizes our commitment to providing the Delta Difference – which enables the Company to enjoy a revenue premium and the highest Net Promoter Scores in Delta’s history.

 

Blue Skies

Last week, Delta received approval from the DOT to expand its Transatlantic Joint Venture (JV) with Air France-KLM and Virgin Atlantic. The Blue Skies JV would consolidate and amend the existing Delta-Virgin Atlantic JV and Delta-Air France-KLM JV agreements.

As you might recall, in August, ALPA filed formal comments in the Blue Skies proceeding. That filing raised concerns that the Blue Skies JV could be misused to outsource growth to foreign carriers at the expense of U.S. pilot jobs and careers. It also urged the DOT to impose a “condition” to ensure that Delta does in fact realize an equitable share of flying and growth under the JV.  Specifically, ALPA asked the DOT to expand its planned five-year review of Blue Skies to include assessment of the JV’s impact on U.S. aviation jobs and the balance of flying and growth generated in joint venture markets.

 

I’m pleased to report that, in its final order approving and granting Antitrust Immunity (ATI) for the Blue Skies JV, the DOT specifically granted ALPA’s request and made mandatory review of the JV’s impact on U.S. aviation jobs a condition of its approval. Over the entire 26-year history of ATI review, this ruling marks the first time the DOT has ever imposed an express labor condition on an airline joint venture. The DOT’s recognition that the public has an interest in the allocation of flying and growth within a JV—and the associated impact on U.S. aviation jobs—is an important victory not just for Delta pilots, but for the entire pilot profession.

 

A Time to Give Thanks

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I want to share a few thoughts about what I am thankful for as I reflect on the year-to-date and march toward the Dec. 31 amendable date:  

  • The best negotiating environment airline pilots have ever experienced. Too many of us have seen the worst of times in the airline industry. We are now in a unique position to capitalize on the best of times. 
  • A company that is profitable beyond anyone’s imagination.  
  • An MEC that is firing on all cylinders and has come together with purpose and intent as a unified group standing behind our collective mission of securing the best contract in the industry.  
  • A committee structure that is fully committed to the MEC and pilot group with the hearts of servant leaders focused on nothing short of complete victory for the Delta pilots in all facets of our work.  
  • A pilot group who is supportive of its union and has told us time and time again that you are ready and willing to wait for a contract that reflects our past sacrifices and our profitability now and in the future.
 

Whether you are with your family and friends this Thanksgiving or flying the line, I wish you a happy holiday. I am mindful and thankful for what our collective future holds, and I am honored to serve as your Chairman during this important chapter in the Delta pilots’ history.

 

In unity,
 
Capt. Ryan Schnitzler, Chairman
Delta Master Executive Council