Alaska Airlines air cargo unaffected by industrial action
04 / 04 / 2022
By Rebecca Jeffrey
Photo: Alaska Airlines
Alaska Airlines has cancelled a chunk of flights while its pilots engage in industrial action, but air cargo operations are unaffected.
The US airline, which includes Alaska Air Cargo, published an operational update on April 3 which stated it had cancelled 73 flights, just over 6% of its overall flights on April 3. On April 2 it said 88 flights had been cancelled, while on April 1 it said more than 120 flights had been cancelled.
While Alaska Air has not specified why it has cancelled flights, it told Air Cargo News: “The cancellations have not impacted our freighter operation. There were a couple of cancellations (at the) end of last week, but that was due to unscheduled maintenance on one of our aircraft.”
Regarding belly cargo airfreight, it added that its “cargo booking desk has been in touch with impacted customers to proactively move or reroute bookings affected by any cancellations. The majority of cancelations have been in markets with multiple frequencies so we’ve been able to reaccommodate existing bookings”.
The airline’s pilots are currently engaging in industrial action with the goal of securing a new contract. Alaska’s update warned that additional cancellations are possible.
The airline said it is committed to reaching a collective bargaining agreement.
“A new pilot contract remains a top priority for Alaska,” said Jenny Wetzel, vice president of labor relations for Alaska Airlines. “We’ve put a package on the table that’s competitive and addresses the issues most important to our pilots. It’s a significant financial investment in our pilot group while recognizing that we are still working to recover from $2.3 billion in losses from the COVID-19 pandemic. We are eager to conclude negotiations quickly so our pilots can enjoy these new benefits as soon as possible.”
Alaska Airlines said it has been in talks with the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) for a new agreement since the summer of 2019, with a mutual pause in talks for a year – from March 2020 to March 2021 due to the pandemic.
The airline filed for mediation with the National Mediation Board in October 2021 to help move the process forward and facilitate an agreement.
The next mediation session is scheduled for later this month.