US Airways and its pilots clash in court - | WBTV Charlotte

US Airways and its pilots clash in court

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The bitter battle between US Airways and its pilots started over wages. Five years ago, pilots agreed to take a pay cut to keep the company from going out of business.

Since then the airline has certainly regained its wings - in 2010, US Air enjoyed the second highest profit in its history.

But the company never restored pilot pay, and now US Air pilots make 25% below the industry standard.

It's a fight that shouldn't really involve you as a passenger.

But both sides claimed in Federal Court today that customers are being affected.

The airline says pilots are so disgruntled they're purposefully delaying flights.

"We're alleging that there are a disproportionate number of maintenance write-ups, that there are slow taxi's going on, late notifications, those types of things," says US Airways Vice President of Communications John McDonald.

"Absolutely not," reports Captain Michael Cleary. "That's absolutely an unsubstantiated claim."

Cleary is president of the US Airline Pilots Association, and he says it's not your time at stake...it's your safety.

Pilots claim that US Air is also short-changing passengers.

Cleary says executives care more about profits and on-time flights than they do safety, so they're not letting them perform necessary checks.

"This hearing today was all about safety," he says. "The company has been retaliating against the pilots for operating the aircraft in accordance with the federal aviation regulations."

But McDonald told WBTV that, "we believe that the safety campaign is a very thinly veiled job action."

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