SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Delta Air Lines pilots are holding a rally over the company’s “fatiguing” scheduling practices.
The Air Line Pilots Association, Intl., (ALPA), which is the union representing the pilots says the picket is taking place at the Salt Lake City International Airport on April 7 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Officials say they’re protesting the airline’s scheduling practices that have forced pilots to endure “long and often fatiguing trips.”
“Delta is trying to operate more flights with fewer pilots, leaving no wiggle room for weather delays and operational strains,” said union representatives. “We want management to come to the table to discuss our scheduling concerns. We are spending more time away from home than ever to ensure that we can operate a reliable schedule for Delta customers. Delta passengers and Delta pilots deserve better.”
The union is asking Delta for a change in “rotation quality” and says although the company was made aware of these requests, the rotations have remained “essentially unchanged.”
ABC 4 spoke with Capt. Evan Baach ahead of the picket on Thursday.
“The airline is staffing more flights than pilots,” said Baach. “They don’t have the pilots available to do the flying and our pilots who are frontline leaders during the pandemic have picked up a record amount of overtime.”
“Pilots are mission-oriented and want to deliver the best service in the industry, but we are also humans with limitations,” says Capt. Jason Ambrosi, Chairman of the Delta MEC. “Not every day is blue skies. Weather disruptions and other operational issues can cause flight delays and cancellations. Our customers deserve better.”
The union says additional picketing events have been planned for airports in Detroit, Seattle, and Minneapolis later this month.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, airline employees reported continued stress while dealing with passengers amid health safety protocols. Most recently, a letter cosigned by the CEOs and heads of 10 major airlines was sent to the White House asking to remove mask mandates and testing requirements for passengers.
“It’s on them to come to us and work on solutions,” said Baach. “The ball is in the company’s court.”