Sky Talk

American Airlines, US Airways pilots get combined seniority list


American Airlines and US Airways pilots received a combined seniority list from an arbitration panel on Tuesday, the latest step in integrating the two carriers that merged in 2013.

“Now that the [seniority list] has been issued, [the Allied Pilots Association] will be closely working with the company on its implementation,” the pilots’ union said in a message to its members on Tuesday afternoon.

The ruling from the arbitration panel, which is binding, was more complicated than most pilot seniority integration lists because US Air pilots and America West pilots fought several legal battles regarding seniority that prevented the groups from combining after the two carriers merged to become US Airways in 2005. As a result, the arbitration panel was combining three pilots groups into one.

The panel decided to merge the US Air and America West pilots into one list first and then merged that list with the seniority list at American Airlines. It also weighted the new seniority list with 15 percent towards longevity and 85 percent towards the pilot’s existing category and status.

“The interminable disputes they generate tend to breed animosity that corrodes flight crew relations,” the ruling said. “Our award seeks to achieve its goals of fairness and equity primarily through the construction and creation of the [integrated seniority list] itself.”

For airline pilots, where they fall on a seniority list determines what flights they can work and what types of aircraft they are allowed to fly. Typically, pilots on the top of a seniority list fly long-haul international flights where they are paid a higher rate than those lower on the list who often fly shorter, domestic routes.

“’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 American’s vice president of flight Kimball Stone.

Andrea Ahles: 817-390-7631, @Sky_Talk