Air Line Pilots Association reject tentative deal signed by JetBlue Airways Corp and American Airlines Group Inc

In a statement, the union of JetBlue Airways Corp stated, it has rejected a tentative agreement that would have given the airline contractual relief to implement its planned partnership with American Airlines Group Inc.

In July, budget carrier JetBlue and international major American Airlines had announced plans for a strategic partnership which provided them more muscle in the U.S. Northeast even as the airlines industry plots its recovery from the coronavirus-induced COVID-19 pandemic.

Before formalizing any agreement, the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) representing JetBlue pilots said the management should provide assurances over job safety.

“Job security, especially during turbulent points in our industry, is a main concern of every pilot,” said Chris Kenney, chairman of the JetBlue unit of ALPA.

“We are disappointed in the results of the vote,” said a spokesman for JetBlue while noting that the company and ALPA had worked together on the tentative agreement. “We are committed to our alliance with American Airlines and plan to move forward so we can deliver its benefits to both crewmembers and customers.”

In a statement the ALPA said, “the tentative agreement gave some relief from restrictions in 2018 collective bargaining on the types of tie-ups JetBlue could undertake in exchange for an additional pay raise and some enhancement in job security”.

While the management of American Airlines has told its pilots that the deal was in compliance with their clauses on scope, which dictates the amount of flying hours that can be done by other carriers, the ALPA is concerned on aspects that impact job security for domestic flights, said a union spokesman.

“We’ve never seen a code share at American that has led to more mainline jobs,” said Dennis Tajer, spokesman for the Allied Pilots Association representing American’s pilots.

In a statement, American Airlines said, the deal, which is currently being reviewed by U.S. regulators, will help boost its international flying operations.

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