Southwest, Frontier Airline Merger already getting messy

Posted on 13. Aug, 2009 by in Featured

Southwest had a contingency in their bid for Frontier Airline (F9) that a deal had to be done with the pilots union first. Both unions, SWAPA and FAPA saw it as leverage against the other. F9 creditors rejected the contingency, raising the stakes and tipping the leverage in FAPA’s favor. A game of chicken is now on. Will southwest go ahead with the deal anyway? Or will southwest back away, since the pilots don’t have a deal. The judge has already tipped his hand saying he would reject the clause.

Many analysts have expressed surprise, even shock, that the bid included the commuter airline Lynx. That is because they are not paying attention. The contract tentative agreement (TA) that the SWAPA pilots rejected, was obviously designed to get the Q400 on property, flown by out-sourced pilots. The majority of SWAPA pilots recognized that and thus rejected the TA. The fact that Lynx was bid on in its entirety seems to verify it.

Time to think outside of the box for SWAPA. They have real leverage and can convert that into long term gain for their members. SWAPA should trade arbitration of the seniority list for the Q400 and an International Scope clause. Scope has had the biggest negative effect on pilot careers since 911, not mergers. Get the Q400 on the mainline contract with an International agreement and SWAPA has secured their long term future, in exchange for merging in roughly 10% (F9) of their present list. It could be a win/win which used to be the Southwest trade mark.

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