Topic of the Week: US Airways Gets a Preliminary Injunction Against Its Pilots Union (and a Bonus)

Easyjet, Labor Relations, US Airways

Earlier this week, US Airways finally got the preliminary injunction it had asked for against its pilots related to the operational disruption that’s been going on for a few months. This was a clear victory for the airline as the judge seemed to agree with US Airways in great detail. I would highly recommend reading the 45 page ruling for some of the juicier tidbits. Chime in with your comments below.

And I thought I’d throw in a bonus topic this week for its insanity. Not sure how much readers know about Stelios Haji-Ioannou, but he is the man behind the “easy” name. The best known easy brand is easyJet, one of the largest airlines in Europe. While Stelios is still the largest shareholder, he doesn’t run the company. He has, however, inserted himself at times and made life difficult for all involved. Now, it appears he’s fed up and wants to start a rival airline, Fastjet or E-jet, to compete with, um, the airline he owns a big chunk of? Riiight. This one is just downright silly.

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16 comments on “Topic of the Week: US Airways Gets a Preliminary Injunction Against Its Pilots Union (and a Bonus)

  1. The US Airways pilots weren’t the only group to lose a “safety” battle in court this week. The same thing happened to the UA/CO pilots who pretty much tried to play the same game:

    I guess pilots’ unions everywhere will now have to come up with a new strategy to subvert the “status quo” intent of the RLA.

    But all is not lost for pilots because some emerging trends are likely to increase the pot of money available to pay pilot salaries in future years. First, it is impossible to deny that mergers and capacity reductions are causing a more stable, profitable industry. Second, it seems likely that Wall Street’s fascination with commodity speculation is ebbing, meaning that fuel costs are more likely to move closer to historical averages.

    Pilots unions would do better encouraging these trends than playing the safety card. But in doesn’t seem in their DNA to focus on business fundamentals — it’s apparently more fun to fight management (and even their fellow pilots).

  2. LOL Fast-jet! He might as well have called it chEasy Jet.

    Stelios is getting nowhere with his troubles. Clearly he should follow in the steps of Richard Branson, who lets airline people run the airline and he promotes the brand. Now obviously after 35 years in the business, Branson knows plenty about airlines but Stelios isn’t there yet. What happened to all his other ventures, easyHotel, easyBus, etc?

    Message to governments, bean counters, and random private interests worldwide: LET AIRLINE PEOPLE RUN AIRLINES.

  3. There is some discussion about whether Stelios said this as a form of bluster privately to Easyjet, intending for it to remain private, but that Easyjet have simply called his bluff and publicised it way before Stelios is even remotely ready to talk about it to the rest of the world.

    If you look at the Fastjet website, it’s basic in the extreme. Do a DNS reverse look up and you’ll find it was registered in July 2005.

    Someone got a big mouth and spoke a bit too loudly. Right now, it’s probably as realistic as the much fabled Family Airlines or Baltia Airlines – go look ’em up if you’ve never heard of them.

    1. I’m going to quibble. You’re looking at a WHOIS search, not a Reverse DNS lookup. Reverse DNS is what takes and returns (thats the machine is on) WHOIS looks up the details of who registered a domain name and what the first set of servers to begin a DNS lookup for the site are. (An example: is for

      Yes, I’m a dork about many things, not just airlines and airplanes..

  4. If the USAir pilots agreed to binding arbitration during the America West merger, then how can they walk away from that and not be compelled to accept the arbitrator’s ruling? I never understood that part.

    1. They can’t, but it takes forever for it to drag through the courts. Eventually there will be a final ruling, and I don’t see how it could go USAPA’s way. This sort of thing just seems to dig the hole deeper.

      1. Well, the courts could go either way. They got out of binding arbitration because the East pilots formed a new union. They had binding arbitration when they were part of ALPA (both West and East pilots were in the same union, so there is a defined procedure to merge the union representation within the airline.) However the East folks had a hissy fit when the arbitration didn’t go the way they’d like it to and they decertified the ALPA as their representation (and the West pilot’s representation too.), and certified a new union they created USAPA. Since the East pilots outnumber the West pilots they were able to do this easily.

    2. I never understood the part where the furloughed guys at USAirways were stapled, giving them NO SENIORITY for their 18 plus years on the property. Wasnt neither side supposed to get a windfall?

  5. As for Stelios, sounds like Muse Air/Southwest Airlines in the 80’s. Funny if EasyJet ended up buying Stelios Air!

  6. The entitlement east pilots could have had a good contract by now, could have been making money, could have integration. But, no, they agreed to binding arbitration, and then tried to reject it when they didn’t get what they wanted (complete seniority screwing of the AWA pilots after AWA rescued US from chapter 7). So, too bad for them, they get paid less than AWA guys and gals. Sucks to be them. Parker is loving this.

    Heard that a few east pilots have been fired, fine with me, planes fly better without dead weight.

    1. Doug Parker has repeatedly said (on quarterly earnings conference calls) that he would rather have a settlement, with the higher associated costs (the dollar figure has been quoted on earnings call numerous times in response to analysts questions), than have the current situation linger. So I have to take issue with your cynical characterization that “Parker is loving this.”

  7. Wow. I read the first 30 pages or so of the ruling. Eye-opening. Happily for me, I don’t think the US flights I take would tend to be piloted by Charlotte-based East pilots.

  8. Stelios does not make sense. A few months ago he was threatening U2 with taking away the right to use the “easy” moniker, as he owns the trademark. Yet, he owns a big part of the airline…. I don’t get it.

  9. It kind of surprises me that there haven’t been more comments on the USAPA / US Airways lawsuit here, on (very few), etc. It could be that people are seeing through the smokescreen and know the real story. The irresponsible elements of USAPA are ruining things for their peers at US Airways. It’s almost as if the “East” pilots want US Airways to liquidate and wipe out everyone’s jobs.

    There will ultimately be a resolution to this seniority mess; if by no other means than the aging and ultimate retirement of the people involved. I hope the adults in the union and the company can get this issue resolved to everyone’s benefit.

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