Sky Talk

Former US Airways pilots’ lawsuit on seniority gets June court date

Former US Airways pilots
Former US Airways pilots Star-Telegram

A June court date has been set in a lawsuit filed by several former US Airways pilots, alleging the seniority list integration process at American Airlines has been flawed.

The lawsuit was filed in February by eleven pilots and says that 63 former US Airways pilots have not been properly placed in a seniority list prior to the combination of US Airways and American Airlines’ pilots groups after the merger of the two airlines.

“The seniority list integration arbitration has been proceeding with three (3) separate lists of pilot employement data some of which still contain numerous inaccuracies with regard to dates of hire and dates of birth for the affected [former US Airways] East pilots,” the lawsuit alleges.

A district judge in New York has set a court date for June 17 to discuss the case.

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. Pilots typically on the top of a seniority list fly long-haul international flights where they get paid higher rates. Pilots lower on the list usually fly shorter, domestic routes that don’t pay as much.

Prior to US Airways’ merger with American in 2013, the pilots at US Airways never combined into one list as the former US Air and former America West pilots fought several legal battles related to seniority.

American spokesman Casey Norton said the carrier has not taken sides in the seniority list integration process.

“The seniority arbitration proceeding has been conducted in accordance with McCaskill-Bond, the federal law that governs how employee seniority lists are to be integrated when airlines have merged,” Norton said. “Each pilot group is represented at the arbitration hearing by its own committee, and the arbitrators are expected to issue their decision on how our pilot lists are to be merged sometime this summer.”