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No Scope for Change at United

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Scott Kirby, the president of United Airlines, is seeking to make changes to the “scope clause” of its pilots’ contracts, something that governs how regional flights are outsourced. The carrier’s pilots, however, are resistant to any change in their contracts, viewing this as an underhanded tactic.

In ongoing negotiations at United Airlines, Scott Kirby, the carrier’s president, is seeking to make changes to what Reuters refers to as the “scope clause” of pilots’ contracts. This clause, explains the news agency, “sets guidelines on the size of planes that can be operated by regional feeder carriers.”

“A scope clause restricts planes heavier than 86,000 pounds (39,000 kg) with more than 76 seats from regional routes, where pilots are generally paid less than their mainline counterparts,” the news agency further explains.

Kirby is reportedly seeking to make changes to this portion of the pilot contract and it is hoped that these amendments will help to ensure United’s competitiveness against Delta Air Lines and American Airlines.

However, United pilots are attempting to hold out against any changes made to the wording of their contracts. Offering his comments, Todd Insler, who is the unit chair of the body that represents United’s pilots at the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), was quoted as saying, “We are holding the line. We have no intention of degrading scope.”

Insler also explained that United pilots have requested that the airline refrain from using regional carriers because they normally deploy less efficient craft across their routes. They have also, he explained, proved to be problematic in terms of attracting pilot candidates.

But in comments made to analysts earlier this month, Kirby sought to allay fears that any contract changes would somehow harm staff. “We won’t use regional jets to disadvantage our mainline employees, pilots, flight attendants, anyone else.”

Further explaining his motives, Kirby added, “Having competitive scope, however, is really important to being the best. We can’t have one hand tied behind our back and try to compete with AA and Delta.”

[Photo: Shutterstock]

Comments are Closed.
N1120A October 4, 2018

When I book a ticket on United, I want to fly actual United. It is one thing to fly regionals on smaller planes and shorter flights, but to fly them on mainline planes and longer flights is an insult.

cosflyer September 25, 2018

2 things will happen here, kirby will get the trans states mrj order on property and the pilots will cave in in the 11th hour of their current contract negotiations and allow the bigger jets in return for a much bigger signing bonus, what is funny is delta is getting the 220 and staffing it with mainline so hows is it that united needs to remain competitive with delta by bringing in sub-par operators to run these flights?

FlyingNone September 25, 2018

Scott Kirby - he's a dangerous man - messing with people's lives and livelihood.

Ditka September 25, 2018

The company wants their pilots union to give up scope. If they do, then ones being punished are us-the United passengers that have to fly 3 hours on a crappy 50 seater.

brp1264 September 25, 2018

Does this mean that he wants regional airlines to be able to use larger planes than barbie jets? If so, I'm all for that change!