HONOLULU –- Hawaiian Airlines announced today that its pilots narrowly failed to ratify the contract agreement negotiated with the company by the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA). As a result, the company may be forced to turn to the bankruptcy court in hopes of achieving a new contract. Hawaiian will meet with ALPA to determine next steps.
Hawaiian Airlines Trustee Joshua Gotbaum said, “It's disappointing, but unfortunately not quite enough pilots voted for the contract their union negotiated, a contract that was better than any proposal made by any airline to its pilots in the last two years. We may be forced to go to court to get an agreement, so that Hawaiian can exit Chapter 11.”
Gotbaum noted that the contract would have made Hawaiian's pilots among the very best paid in the industry (historically, Hawaiian's wages have been much lower). The contract also would have kept the pilots' pension plan in its current form for the next seven years.
Hawaiian's management negotiated the agreement over a six-month period with representatives from both Hawaiian's pilots and ALPA's international union. It was endorsed by the pilots' Master Executive Council at Hawaiian and supported by the national union. Nonetheless, Hawaiian's pilots failed to ratify the contract by a vote of 55% to 45%.
New labor contracts with all six of Hawaiian's labor unions are necessary for the airline to exit bankruptcy under the court-approved plan of reorganization. Five unions, representing almost 90 percent of Hawaiian's organized employees, successfully negotiated and ratified new contracts: the Clerical and Mechanics units of the International Association of Machinists; the Transport Workers Union; the Network Engineering Group; and the Association of Flight Attendants.
Only the pilots' agreement remains. However, none of the new contracts can take effect unless they all do.
In January, while continuing to negotiate, Hawaiian asked the bankruptcy court to consider imposing a pilot contract if negotiations were unsuccessful. The court hearing on Hawaiian's motion has been deferred several times in hopes of reaching an agreement. In light of the pilots' rejection of the negotiated agreement, the bankruptcy court hearing on Hawaiian's motion is scheduled to be held on March 29th. Prior to that hearing, Hawaiian intends to meet with ALPA to determine the appropriate next steps.
About Hawaiian Airlines
Hawaiian Airlines, the nation's number one on-time carrier, is recognized as one of the best airlines in America. Readers of two prominent national travel magazines, Condé Nast Traveler and Travel + Leisure, have both rated Hawaiian as the top domestic airline serving Hawaii in their most recent rankings, and the fifth best domestic airline overall.
Celebrating its 76th year of continuous service, Hawaiian is Hawaii's biggest and longest-serving airline, and the second largest provider of passenger air service between Hawaii and the U.S. mainland. Hawaiian offers nonstop service to Hawaii from more U.S. gateway cities than any other airline. Hawaiian also provides approximately 100 daily jet flights among the Hawaiian Islands, as well as service to Australia, American Samoa and Tahiti.
Hawaiian Airlines, Inc. is a subsidiary of Hawaiian Holdings, Inc. (AMEX and PCX: HA). Since the appointment of a bankruptcy trustee in May 2003, Hawaiian Holdings has had no responsibility for the management of Hawaiian Airlines and has had limited access to information concerning the airline. Additional information is available at www.HawaiianAir.com.