Delta’s proposed Westjet JV: Delta pilots urging DOT to protect US jobs

Delta's Pilot Union addressing important issues

The pilots of Delta Air Lines are encouraging the Department Of Transportation (DOT) to protect U.S. aviation jobs with the signing of the Delta and Westjet Joint Venture (JV).

The Master Executive Council (MEC) of Delta’s pilot union Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) has turned to the DOT, asking the DOT to place conditions on the joint venture.

The Delta-Westjet venture needs to guarantee job protection for U.S. aviation workers

ALPA’s Delta pilots are concerned about U.S. jobs. The pilots want a guarantee that U.S. aviation workers will be protected in a JV agreement with Canada’s Westjet. In particular, ALPA is urging the DOT to require Delta to review and report on how flying and growth are shared under the agreement. ALPA also wants reports on the associated impact the JV has on U.S. aviation jobs.

Delta and Westjet Joint Venture signing

July 18, 2018, marked the signing of the Delta and Westjet Joint Venture.

Delta pilots are carefully monitoring this joint venture. The Canadian Competition Bureau (CCB) has already signed off on the deal. That took place earlier in the summer. However, the U.S. DOT Anti-Trust Divison has not made a determination of whether to approve or deny the venture.

Delta MEC announcement to the Westjet JV development

Captain Ryan Schnitzler, chairman of ALPA’s Delta MEC reflected on how its ALPA represented pilots view the proposed joint venture.

ALPA and Delta pilots protecting U.S. jobs

Captain Schnitzler said that Delta pilots carefully monitor proposed joint airline ventures. The pilots want to ensure that any new agreement won’t diminish flying opportunities for Delta Air Lines. Diminished flying opportunities not only affect Delta pilots but all of the employees at the airline.

Last August, ALPA requested the DOT place conditions on the Blue Skies joint venture. “Blue Skies” is the nickname for the transatlantic venture. Such conditions would ensure that Delta realizes an equitable share of any combined JV growth.

What exactly is an airline Joint Venture (JV)? (Video presentation)

This presentation offers a simple explanation as to what an airline Joint Venture is. Video: Bird&Bird/YouTube

Joint airline ventures, potential pitfalls

According to Captain Schnitzler, immunized alliances like the JV offers the potential of U.S. airline capacity as well as jobs in aviation.

However, the terms of any Joint Venture agreement can also be misused, negatively affecting the U.S. workers. It can result in a potentially adverse effect on U.S. jobs. ALPA commented in its DOT filing that the backside of airline joint ventures can result in the outsourcing of U.S. flying operations to foreign carriers.

ALPA continued in its DOT filing to say that,

To ensure that both the Delta and WestJet operations share equitably in the benefits of the joint venture, the MEC respectfully urges the Department to approve the JV subject to conditions analogous to those recently imposed on Delta’s ‘Blue Skies’ joint venture.

Delta Air Lines pilot contract

Captain Schnitzler said,

“Scope, including joint ventures, matters to the Delta pilots—it is the foundation of our contract, and we will continue to enforce and seek enhancements to our scope language. We need assurances that Delta is committed to equitable growth, as the company has repeatedly stated. It is time for Delta management to back up their words with actions.”

Delta pilots are members of ALPA

ALPA is the largest airline pilot union in the world. ALPA represents over 63,000 pilots at 35 U.S. and Canadian airlines.

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Featured Image: Delta and Westjet airplane tails. Photo credit: Delta Air Line News Room.

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