Aloha Pilots: Sale of Cargo Unit Could Leave Aloha Cargo Workers Unemployed


Aloha pilot leadership, as represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l. (ALPA) issued the following statement in response to the adjournment of the hearing on the sale of Aloha’s cargo operations to Saltchuk Resources Inc. (also owners of Young Brothers Barge) and the court’s authorization of interim operation of the Cargo Division. These developments took place after Saltchuk renewed its offer to buy the cargo division, and asked the Bankruptcy Court for extraordinary consideration and relief, and came just three days after Aloha and its lender shut down operations completely and asked to liquidate the company under Chapter 7 of the bankruptcy code.

“ALPA pilots have been standing by for weeks with offers to meet with the company and Saltchuk to help solve problems and continue operations,” said Captain David Bird, Aloha Master Executive Council Chairman of ALPA. That offer still stands. But instead of meeting with us, they asked the Judge to simply give them and the lenders expansive and extraordinary relief, wipe out the companies’ outstanding obligations and reject all union contracts. The Court was deliberate and refused to authorize immediate consideration of the rejection of union contracts.

“Aloha and Saltchuk should not ignore long service employees who have already provided hundreds of millions of dollars of relief to Aloha Airlines over the last five years. The Judge ordered the debtors to give unions and employees notice of the proposed contract rejection and the filing of a motion to sell assets on notice.

“So far, Saltchuk has declined to say whether they will meet with employees or employ current Aloha pilots and other employees. ALPA is ready to meet with Saltchuk immediately to make sure that the operations continues without interruption and that appropriate consensual arrangements can be reached. Saltchuk has requested a two-week transition period that began last night under which Aloha Cargo resumed flying until the closing date of the Saltchuk purchase.

“In light of employees’ desire to have these work issues clarified, and the hundreds of millions of dollars in concessions that pilots provided the company, ALPA took strong exception to former Aloha president David Banmiller’s recent comments during the Hawaii Publishers Association meeting. In those off-the-cuff remarks he inexplicably blamed pilots for derailing potential sales of the airline in bankruptcy court.

“Nothing could be further from the truth. The sale of Aloha Airlines faltered over the refusal of the lender to advance more money to the company. Judge King acknowledged in the hearing last night that employees had been treated poorly, admonished the parties that similar conduct should not continue and directed that employees be consulted. Just a few weeks ago Mr. Banmiller also acknowledged in the bankruptcy court record that Aloha’s pilots and their union leaders had worked extraordinarily hard and made significant sacrifices to ensure that Aloha Airlines continued flying over the past three years.”

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilots union and represents more than 56,000 pilots at 41 airlines in the U.S. and Canada. ALPA represents the more than 300 pilots who flew for Aloha Airlines.