Sunday, November 18, 2012

Pilots Await Word on Secret Pinnacle Contract Ruling

Per the Wall Street Journal Bankruptcy Beat:

November 16, 2012, 4:02 PM
By Peg Brickley

A bankruptcy judge has decided whether to let Pinnacle Airlines Corp. PNCLQ 0.00%slash its pilots’ pay, but he apparently wants the decision to be a surprise to the 2,800 pilots affected by the ruling.
Pinnacle’s pilots may have to wait until Monday, or later, to find out whether they’re flying with a contract or looking at cuts that will render their paychecks among the smallest in the industry, even though Judge Robert E. Gerber issued a decision Thursday.
That’s because Gerber filed his ruling under seal Thursday with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan, where the regional carrier that ferries customers for Delta Air Lines Inc. DAL -1.69% is operating under Chapter 11 protection.
Pinnacle pilot Tom Wychor, chairman of the pilots union’s master executive council, declined to comment Friday, as did a representative for Pinnacle. An attorney for the company did not return a call seeking comment on Gerber’s decision on one of the biggest issues in the airline’s bankruptcy case.
Gerber has given the combatants until close of business Friday to proof the document, looking for “any typographical or citation errors,” “technical inaccuracies” or slips that disclose confidential information.
After he gets the OK, the judge will then reveal publicly what he’s ruled but not the basis for the ruling, according to another court document.
Pinnacle sought Gerber’s permission to shave an average of $59.6 million a year in costs related to the pilot union contracts between 2013 and 2018, contending that’s necessary for its survival. Earlier this year, that number was $32.2 million, but Pinnacle says it got a message from Delta that meant bigger cuts are called for.
At trial, the union questioned Pinnacle’s grasp of the mathematics of the situation.
Now, Gerber has added things up to get an answer, but he won’t release publicly a supplement to the decision setting out “financial and other sensitive matter that is inappropriate for disclosure in the public domain,” court papers indicate.
Write to Peg Brickley at

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