The troubled Pinnacle Airlines Corp. has said that it will have to furlough around 450 of its pilot jobs over the next 18 months, as part of its Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization.
The airline sought bankruptcy protection on April 1, after failing to work out a deal on revenues with its bigger airline partners and costs of labor, credit, vendors and suppliers. The furloughing of the pilot jobs is the first indication of how a reorganization is likely to affect the company’s 3,500 employees.
The furloughs would put the most junior pilots on temporary unpaid leave, with more senior pilots being offered options to train on and fly the other planes in the fleet. Pinnacle is planning to cut its fleet by 97 crafts, including Q400, Saab 340 and CRJ-900 aircraft.
A spokesman for the airline said, “Our plan for winding down these operations includes exploring every possible option for our people who will be impacted by these decisions. We remain focused on providing our customers with safe, reliable and on-time service.”
Tom Wychor, a pilot who leads Pinnacle’s Air Line Pilots Association unit, said that the news was what they had been led to expect and “is right in the zone we were projecting given the information we had earlier.”