Alaska Airlines has canceled dozens of flights as pilot pickets

On Friday, Alaska Air canceled 111 flights or 15% of its operations, according to flight tracking website FlightAware. By comparison, American Airlines and Southwest Airlines have canceled only 4% of their flights. Same day operation.

As of noon Saturday EST, Alaska Airlines had canceled 8 flights or 11% of its operations.

Alaska Airlines says 12,000 customers have been affected by the cancellation. The statement made no mention of the pilot’s walkout.

Alaska Airlines said in a statement to CNN Business, “We know it’s sad that their travel plans were abruptly canceled – we apologize to all our guests we’ve dropped off.”

The Airline Pilots Association (ALPA), which represents the pilots of Alaska Airlines, said in a statement Friday that hundreds of pilots and crew members had gathered in Anchorage, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and Portland, Oregon, on Friday.

Pictures of pilots picketing at airports, such as Portland International Airport, show pilots “breaking the stall agreement now” and “paying your pilots.”

The union has been in talks with the airlines for the past three years.

“Alaska Airlines pilots are critical to the airline’s unrivaled success and have reached a new agreement that recognizes our contribution. The agreement we seek to improve is reasonable, and affordable, and will allow our airline to remain successful and competitive, “said Will McQuillan, chairman of the Alaska ALPA Master Executive Council.

As the airlines struggle to keep pace with the aftermath of the epidemic, Alaska Air pilots are advocating for “job security, strong work rules and improved living standards” such as flexibility and reasonable scheduling. The union said its contract fell behind competing airlines.

“Three years is too long to negotiate a deal without reaching an agreement,” McQuilen said.

Alaska Airlines said in a statement that it was committed to reaching an agreement with the pilots, but that it was important for the company to negotiate an agreement that would allow the company to make a profit. The average captain’s salary is $ 341,000 a year. The union represents 3,100 pilots in the career.

“We’ve put a package on the table that is competitive and addresses the most important issues for our pilots,” said Jenny Wetzel, vice president of labor relations at Alaska Airlines. ‚ÄúThis is a significant financial investment in our pilot group while acknowledging that we are still working to recover $ 2.3 billion in damage from the COVID-19 epidemic. We look forward to ending the negotiations as soon as possible so that our pilots can enjoy these new benefits as soon as possible. ”

ALPA is the largest airline union in the world, representing more than 62,000 pilots in North America.

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