US Airways: Unhappy Pilots Prove Airline Merger Difficulty

| About: American Airlines (AAL)

The Stalwart submits: Every time there's been talk of an airline merger, we've pointed out the inherent difficulties associated with them, particularly as it relates to combining the workforce. Remember what the old (sadly defunct) blog Enplaned wrote last year:

Most airline employees live and die by their seniority position. For instance, the most senior pilot gets his/her pick of available assignments, the second highest picks second, down the line. So how the two seniority lists are integrated is a very big issue.

So while analysts are always touting mergers as a way to cut costs in the industry , stories like this shouldn't come as much of a surprise:

Reuters is the latest media outlet to write about the infighting between the two pilot groups at US Airways (LCC). "The amalgamation of about 1,800 former America West pilots and about 2,700 former US Airways pilots has barely progressed in the nearly two years since those two airlines merged to form the current company. And experts say the process is stalled on two fronts," Reuters writes. The latest hurdle for the two pilots groups is the failure to agree on a combined seniority list. Both groups are represented by the Air Line Pilots Association [ALPA], but the US Airways side is not happy with an arbitrator's ruling on the subject. A court hearing on the subject is scheduled for Oct. 5.