SWAPA lawsuit and pickets jeopardise growth plans, says CEO

Dino D'Amore
By Dino D'Amore May 20, 2016 14:00

SWAPA lawsuit and pickets jeopardise growth plans, says CEO

The Southwest Airlines Pilots Association (SWAPA), union representing the pilots of Southwest Airlines, is piling on pressure to Southwest management to finalise a labour contract that has been under debate for four years.
On May 16, SWAPA, filed papers in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas to obtain status quo protection, which will effectively bar Southwest from operating its new 737Max aircraft. The pilots assert that Southwest may not operate or threaten to operate the MAX without a contract provision for this aircraft. SWAPA asserts that Southwest Airlines is violating federal law by threatening to proceed unilaterally if an agreement is not reached before the MAX is delivered (the first is due in 2017) for use by the carrier.
On May 18, during Southwest Airlines Annual Shareholders Meeting at the Renaissance Blackstone Hotel, Chicago, an unprecedented number of uniformed pilots lined up on Michigan Avenue in what they term as “silent protest” regarding the lack of progress made toward a new contract after nearly four years of negotiations. SWAPA is asking for a contract that is in line with the pay and benefits of the other three major U.S. carriers.
CEO Gary Kelly has stated that this action threatens Southwest Airlines’ growth plans.
“It will harm Southwest if we cannot receive future aircraft deliveries,” Kelly said. “It won’t put us in jeopardy of shrinking the airline, but we won’t be able to grow.”
Dino D'Amore
By Dino D'Amore May 20, 2016 14:00