Comair Ready to Impose Pilot Pay Cuts

CINCINNATI (AP) -- Comair said it asked a U.S. Bankruptcy Court on Thursday to allow the carrier to impose concessions on its 1,500 pilots if negotiations don't produce an agreement.

Comair, a subsidiary of Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines Inc., has tentatively scheduled talks with the Air Line Pilots Association for the next two weeks, spokeswoman Kate Marx said.

"Comair's strong preference is to achieve a consensual agreement outside the courtroom," Marx said. "We have continued to demonstrate our good faith bargaining by reducing our proposals to $15.8 million and incorporating enhanced benefits for the pilots."

A message seeking comment was left with the union.

Comair filed for bankruptcy protection last year, along with Delta.

Comair's pilots make an average of $59,600 a year, the airline said. The proposed pay cut would amount to $6,400.

The pilots ratified $17.3 million in givebacks in January, conditioned on the airline obtaining concessions from mechanics and flight attendants.

In July, a bankruptcy judge told Comair it could impose $7.9 million in concessions on the flight attendants -- $1 million less than the amount stipulated in contracts with the pilots and mechanics -- so the pilots demanded new terms.

Last month, the mechanics union and the airline announced that their earlier deal on concessions had been modified, and Comair reached a tentative deal with flight attendants to cut their pay 7.5 percent, subject to a ratification vote ending Nov. 14.

Comair is based in nearby Erlanger, Ky., near the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. The airline has about 6,500 employees and operates 882 flights daily to 103 cities.

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