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Comair Commuter Carrier to Fire Pilots

April 17, 2001|Bloomberg News

Delta Air Lines Inc.'s Comair commuter carrier said it will fire 200 pilots and trainees, or 14% of its crew, reduce its fleet and defer plane purchases as a pilots strike enters the fourth week. The Cincinnati-based regional airline called the plan the "first in a series of business moves it may need to take in the coming weeks to protect the long-term health of the company." Comair will cut its 119-plane fleet by 17 and will dismiss 200 pilots and trainees at a base in Orlando, Fla., a spokesman said. The 100 affected pilots were assigned to nine Embraer-120 Brasilia turboprops, which Comair said it will retire earlier than planned. The company also will work with manufacturer Bombardier Inc. to sell eight Canadair regional jetliners, each with 50 seats. Comair said it plans to defer delivery of new Canadair regional jets for an "indefinite period." Comair pilots struck the airline March 26 after the the Air Line Pilots Assn. and management failed to agree on a new contract because of differences over pay, retirement and benefit issues. Flights have been canceled through April 24. The pilots union declined to comment.

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