Southwest Airlines Announces Codeshare And Some Pilots Are Not Happy


Today we have a new subject to talk about.

Well, I guess the main topic is a familiar one. Pilots who are not happy with things that management is doing for, er, to them.

But in this case, the players on the playing field have changed.

You may have read the news release yesterday in which Southwest Airlines announced a new codeshare agreement with Volaris — a Mexican airline.

In the release Monday, Southwest said that the airlines will coordinate flight schedules and reservation systems, allowing Southwest customers to book flights to Mexico using both carriers. Volaris currently serves cities including Mexico City, Tijuana, Cancun, Guadalajara, Mexicali and Acapulco.

But wait just a minute.

Who stands to lose potential flying if the airline goes ahead with this codeshare agreement, as well as the agreement already announced with WestJet?

That’s right. Southwest Airlines’ pilots.

Today the PlaneBusiness email box has received more than a fistful of emails from Southwest pilots who are not happy campers. To say that this is an unusual occurrence would be a hefty understatement.

Here is an excerpt from one of the longer notes:

In really simple terms, and feel free to use it (just don’t credit me, a bit of a witch hunt going on here), it should not be called Code Sharing, but Outsourcing.

[Southwest CEO] Kelly and SWAPA negotiated a codeshare (outsourcing) agreement in the new contract during the initial current negotiations. This was about a year ago. He stated publicly that even though it had not been voted on, that he would honor that agreement. He has since come back to our negotiators and said he wants to re-negotiate that portion of the new contract. Meanwhile, he is doing all the codesharing (outsourcing) he can while he “slow rolls” our contract negotiations.

WestJet has announced 15% growth after our agreement with them.

Volaris says they will double in size.

Kelly cut 6% of our flying.

Now the rumor is that Republic is negotiating with Kelly to take over our short haul intra-Texas flying.

I am a 20+ year guy and am really disgusted with what is going on here. I spent several years at a Lorenzo airline and am seeing parallels that I thought would never happen here. The line employees realize they are just numbers to Kelly.”

Where is the LUV?

Yes it’s now been two years and counting and there is still no new contract between the pilots and the company. From the sound and tone of the notes we received this morning, it sounds like maybe the tone from the pilots’ side has just taken a little turn towards a more defensive posture.

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