To be a little more clear, our contract became amendable about 18 months ago. There's been a lot of back and forth between us and management, but little actual movement. Management keeps sticking with 'zero cost contract' and we are asking for a small pay increase with no cut in benefits or work rules.
Earlier this year we signed the side letter that allowed the company to order new A330's, and in exchange, they agreed that if we didn't have a signed agreement by September 15th, we could engage an mediator to help out. We didn't have the agreement by then, so we now are about to start again with the mediator.
Slow, sllloooowww, sllllllooooooooowwwwwwwww, is about how I'd characterize it so far.
Any word/ thoughts there on the tight credit markets and the financing for the Airbus deal possibly not being there when needed?
Hoping this isn't the case but the economy is in the crapper and not looking better anytime soon.
Not likely. Our contract is pretty black and white about the use of express carriers. In short; no aircraft with more than 69 seats, and no ops at all between HNL, LIH, ITO, KOA, and OGG. That pretty much leaves LNY and MKK as the only places a 'regional' carrier could fly for us. Island Air is already doing that for us and the E170 is too big. If RAH is coming in, it's for someone other than HA.
As for the credit markets drying up and its impact on us, I don't have a clue. I kind of thought we'd already sewn up the financing for the new aircraft when we signed for them. But if not, I don't think Airbus would want us (and everybody else) to suddenly walk away from their orders. The money will be found, one way or another. What it may do though is prevent us from getting any A330's before that original order starts arriving in 2012. But remember, markets are fluid things. In six months we may be in a recession, or this whole experience may just be a bad memory.