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Continental Develops Plan to Deal with Venezuela-U.S Dispute March 18, 2006

Posted by Andrew in Uncategorized.
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In response to the Venezuelan government’s threat to revoke the operating rights of U.S airlines as of March 30, Continental Airlines announced on Friday that they had drafted plans to accommodate passengers booked from April until the crisis was resolved. The carrier plans to allow all passengers to exchange tickets without penalties, in addition to issuing full refunds for those who plan to cancel their trips to Venezuela entirely. The dispute between Venezuela and the United States stems from a disagreement over aviation rights. In a bid to convince the U.S FAA to allow Venezuelan airlines to enter U.S airspace, which were banned a decade ago, the Venezuelan government has threatened to refuse entry to all American flights as of March 31st. Currently, Continental, which serves Venezuela from Houston, Texas, and Newark, New Jersey, is the only carrier that flies nonstop to the South American country of Venezuela. Although Continental has not altered its schedules in anticipation of a ban on American carriers, Americans can still gain admittance to Venezuela if they fly on carrier’s of a different nationality, like Air France of France or Lufthansa of Germany.

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Northwest Pilots Strike Tentative Deal March 5, 2006

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Photo: Aeroposte Editor

Northwest Airlines and union officials representing pilots at the nation’s fourth largest airline reached a tentative pay-cut deal late Friday night. Although few details of the agreement have been released, Northwest management reported that they successfully negotiated the $358 million in savings they sought at the onset of the arbitration process. Both sides most ratify the pact before the cost-savings can be implemented. The agreement defused the potential for a strike, which had been authorized by the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) if the bankruptcy court judge imposed these cuts without union consent. Mark McClain, the head of the Northwest branch of ALPA , characterized the agreement as “a painful but necessary part of a successful restructuring of Northwest Airlines.” Following in the footsteps of embattled legacy carrier United Airlines, which recently emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy, Northwest has used its bankruptcy status as leverage against the traditionally strong unions representing airline employees. These pay-cuts are the second round of salary adjustments at Northwest, which slashed pilot pay 15% in 2003. According to Airline labor relations expert Daniel Petree of Embry-Riddle University, Northwest is hardly out of danger though: “If I were on either side of the bargaining table I wouldn’t assume my work is done”, he quipped in an Associated Press article.