Miami Air threatens Lightning schedule


Tampa Bay Lightning officials may be scrambling to reach their final road games this season.

Miami Air International, the airline that the team charters for road trips, is facing a possible strike by its crewmembers. Strike ballots were tallied Thursday and 84 percent approved a strike against the company, if and when released by the National Mediation Board.

The dispute between the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the company is over wages and benefits. The two sides have been negotiating for 18 months to forge a new labor contract.

The Lightning has one road trip remaining after tomorrow’s return from Fort Lauderdale. The team is scheduled to fly on April 1 to play Carolina, Washington and Atlanta, returning on April 5.

Miami Air assured the team that any action from the union would come after the Lightning season ends, said Bill Wickett, team spokesman.

It’s unclear at this time how the potential strike might affect other Florida teams. Besides the Lightning, Miami Air charters flights for the Miami Heat, Florida Marlins and Florida Panthers, along with other National Hockey League, Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association and college teams throughout the country.