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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Hawaiian Air pilots picket for contract

By Rick Daysog
Advertiser Staff Writer

Pilots at Hawaiian Airlines held an informational picket at Honolulu International Airport yesterday over stalled contract talks with the state's No. 1 carrier.

The Air Line Pilots Association said it has been negotiating with Hawaiian for more than two years for a new contract for the company's 405 pilots.

Pilots are asking for a cost-of-living increase that would restore some of the wage concessions they made during Hawaiian Airlines' 2003-2005 bankruptcy.

"Now the company is doing well. It is one of the few airlines that are," said pilot Jeff Jones, chairman of ALPA's communications committee.

"We're just trying to get back some of what we gave up."

Hawaiian said it has looked at increasing pilots' pay without "worsening what is already a competitive disadvantage for the company."

The airline said it is working with a federal mediator to resolve differences with the union.

Hawaiian is the state's largest airline with 3,700 employees. The company, which benefited from the March 31 shutdown of Aloha Airlines, earned $28.6 million in 2008, which was up sharply from 2007's $7.1 million.

Jones said pilots haven't had a raise since 2000 and have given back millions of dollars worth of concessions since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist strikes on the Mainland and the 2003-2005 bankruptcy.

Reach Rick Daysog at rdaysog@honoluluadvertiser.com.