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Freedom Airlines

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I would not expect Freedom airlines to be hiring off the street for at least a few years. The due date for Mesa pilots to bid over to Freedom is May 6th. There is a steady supply of students at Mesa's San Juan program who will probably fill the right seats for the foreseeable future. The Bombardier strike has will also affect the start-up timetable.

Don't expect to make any friends if you go to Freedom either. It is opposed by ALPA groups at Mesa and America West and has resulted in the Mesa CEO being branded the next Frank Lorenzo by ALPA national. The bottom line is that Freedom is being created by Mesa to try and get away from ALPA.

FYI, if you don't know, Freedom is a non-union carrier being started by Mesa Air Group to operate the CRJ 700/900 as America West Express. At first the reasoning behind the creation was that Mesa's agreement with USAirways prevented it from operating RJs larger than 50 seats, no matter who the codeshare was with. After the USAirways MEC dropped the limitation, the Mesa CEO said he was still going through with it because he felt ALPA was being unreasonable in their initial pay proposals for the 700s and 900s. Mesa pilots want the 700s and 900s kept on the Mesa operating certificate.
It is pretty clear that Freedom Air will be used by airline managements around the industry to circumvent the CBA's of both Major and Regional Airlines. If you want a career at Freedom Air go there, but if you have any hopes of moving on to a major I would not recommend it.

P.S. Don't be fooled by anything Freedom Air management tells you, you need the protections that a labor union offers. There is a reason they don't want the union on the property, and it has nothing to do with making life better for the pilots.
Freedom is the result of poor scope agreements from all three airliners involved, Mesa, America West, and US Air. It started because of US Airways scope which was too restrictive. Now that US Airways has backed off neither Mesa nor America West's scope is strong enough to prevent 51+ seat CRJs from going to Freedom and flying as America West Express.

Mesa's ALPA is very opposed to the creation of Freedom for three reasons. First it takes away advancement from Mesa pilots. Pilots that choose to stay at Mesa will never fly anything with more then 50 seats. Second, the new airline will start with no union. Although JO has stated that the pilots may form a union in the future, it may be very difficult to do so. Lastly, with Mesa having two pilot groups it may be possible to whipsaw the pilot groups and have them compete against each other. Which ever pilot group works for less gets the growth.

I doubt that anyone will be branded a scab or have trouble getting hired at the majors because they worked for Freedom. Freedom airlines is the result of market forces and weak scope, it's not the fault of the pilots. Calling someone a scab should be reserved for when a picket line is actually crossed.

If anything can be learned from this situation is that scope is not just for the majors. In the future scope will become important to regional airlines as they move towards larger equipment and all jet fleets. Look at what is happening at Coex. Routes and equipment that used to be flown by Coex pilots are now flown by Gulfstream and Commutair (not Colgan . :) )
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Chilidawg, a scab is someone who crosses a picket line.

Most scope clauses are a joke. Management has better lawyers than ALPA. Time and time again.

I am sure that ALPA has just as good lawyers.....

The fact is that scope clauses put an artifical constraint that inevitably fails in the market.

As with many of the discussions we have on this board, to think that JO is doing this based on pilot issues would be a misnomer. You have to remember that he is flying for two of the weakest majors who have scope clauses that restrict him for management of his business.

If it had not been for the government money, America West would likely have failed in the first month post 9/11. The closing of National also impacted U severely and hence JO.

It is obvious to those on the outside that he is taking steps to preserve what he has and reduce his reliance on his two major affiliates. It makes sense and that is what needs to happen.

To say that the people who choose to go work at this new entry are scabs or lesser pilots is ludicrous. So far scope and having a major union represent regional pilots is not working out very well anyway.
Careful Wiggums!

When referring to the Coex issue I assume you meant to say Gulfstream and Commutair, not Gulfstream and Colgan. Colgan is with Airways now.

I can't speak for anything Gulfstream is doing but Commutair is not taking over any routes that used to be operated by Coex. Nor are they doing anything under the direction of Continental management.

Commutair is a 100% independent company that pays Continental for the right to use the Continental logo and be a part of the Continental reservation system. Much of that pay is the form of slots for Coex at HPN that are owned by Commutair (hence the sudden increase in HPN flights for Coex right after the deal with Commutair was struck). Everything Commutair does it does on its own. Continental is so univolved in what Commutair is doing that it will not even do any advertising for Commutair. Every destination Commutair serves it had served at one point in time as USAirways Express. Every destination Commutair serves, it has to advertise and make money on its own with no help or direction from Continental. Continental is so distanced from Commutair that even though our pilots are listed in the Continental system and have Continental IDs, we are not allowed to sit in the cockpit on Continental or Coex flights. We are one of the few, if not only, regional airline that does not have cockpit priviledges (sp?) with their major airline codeshare partner.

I know there are many paranoid Coex pilots that think Continental management has an investment in Commutair (it doesn't, not one cent, zero, zip, nada) and is using it to take over Coex routes (Name one route, ONE, that Commutair has taken over). The fact is Commutair is no threat to Coex. How on earth can a sane person think a Beech 1900 is a threat to an RJ?! To be truthful I would bet everyone at Commutair would love Continental to make an investment. But believe me, there is none at all. I hope that clarifies things a bit on the Commutair side.

Also note that not one former Coex airplane is on property on Commutair. All of our BE-1900s were delivered factory new to Commutair in 2000. And since the downsizing in August of last year, we still ten of those new birds parked and ready to be put back on the certificate as we grow again, so there will be no need for any former Coex A/C at Commutair.
its where ALPA is failing

It seems to be the same argument with different pilot groups.. scabbing. As we know, anyone who flies an airplane who was not on the seniority list with pilots out on furlough from the seniority list is a scab. A scab is also someone who crosses the picket line.

I think the new generation of scabbing is when an airline reduces its flying, and then its management pays a contract (third tier) airline to fly the same routes. In that case that airline becomes scab pilots.. Why, it is not helping an airline supplement operations b/c they cannot keep up with current demand (which was the original intention when "contract" flying originated.) Now these carriers have become the whipsaw for many pilot groups. Management says look, if you want to save your jobs, you are going to have to take concessions, or we will let this contract carrier take all the flying. So it becomes "to save your REMAINING JOBS, you must.... (insert concessions here.)" The saddest thing about it, the carriers being used to whipsaw other carriers are ALPA represented carriers. This union wants to be the national union of all piolts, yet they are totally mismanaging the pilot groups that currently have CHOOSEN them for representation.

Where MESA gets the bad rap, is they are continually the airline of U groups choice to whipsaw the U wo's. At negotions why do they bring MESA's contract to the table.. b/c they have a horrible contract, and they are ALPA represented pilot group. Now correct me if I am wrong, but in comes a new operating certificate Freedom Air, so that MESA group can now begin to whipsaw their already weak pilots group even further with the non-union pilot group that will show up and probably fly jets for $14/hour. And the bidding will begin, whoever gets the lowest contract, MESA group will award them with all the flying.

If someone has the current MESA pay rates, please post them.


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