Today the Department of Justice (DOJ) approved the acquisition of Virgin America by Alaska Air Group (AAG) after AAG agreed to certain modifications of its codeshare agreement with American Airlines. This approval removes one of the final hurdles to the acquisition and officially starts the journey towards merging Alaska Airlines and Virgin America. AFA expects the transaction (hereafter also referred to as the “merger”) to be completed within the next few weeks following resolution of pending litigation. The Master Executive Council (MEC) looks forward to representing Flight Attendant members at both carriers in the near future as we begin our journey towards merging into one carrier.
What is the timeline for the merger to close?
Although the court filings refer to a 60-day public comment period required by the Antitrust Procedures and Penalties Act (Tunney Act), this waiting period is routinely waived by the Department of Justice. Alaska Air Group management has indicated the merger will close shortly—subject to resolving an anti-trust lawsuit scheduled to be heard in court next week. Therefore the deal will likely be consummated within the next few weeks.
What happens next after the merger closes?
After the merger closes, the next step in the process is for the National Mediation Board (NMB) to issue a single carrier ruling. To facilitate that process we anticipate Alaska Airlines will supply the NMB with an outline of its plans to merge the operations. Once that is filed shortly after closure of the merger, AFA will promptly file with the NMB for the single carrier ruling. The NMB’s single carrier ruling will trigger a determination that AFA is the representative of all Flight Attendants at the combined carrier.
When will AFA negotiate a merged agreement?
We can negotiate with Alaska management for a merged agreement once the NMB has issued a single carrier ruling that AFA is the representative of all Flight Attendants at the merged carrier. If all goes according to plan, AFA hopes we can be at the bargaining table during late first quarter or early second quarter 2017.
Your MEC – Jeffrey Peterson, Brian Palmer, Yvette Satterlee, Lisa Pinkston, Laura Masserant, Cathy Gwynn, Tim Green, Brice McGee; and MEC S/T-Elect Linda Christou