Single Point Communication

2018: Sunrise or Sunset?

Recently your ARW MEC held its first meeting of the year at ALPA HQ in Herndon, VA. One of the top items on the agenda was discussing the future of our airline. Many of you will remember the MEC’s 2014 “Do I Have a Future Here?” campaign – an effort to encourage management to share their corporate survival plan with us and, if they did not, encourage pilots to consider their career options.

Unfortunately, we find ourselves in this same position again, so we are launching a new information campaign called “2018: Sunrise or Sunset?”

With spring having officially arrived and looking forward to the rapidly approaching uptick in the summer flying season, many of you have asked how many summers we have left at Air Wisconsin. The conclusion of the jet services agreement extension allowing Air Wisconsin to continue flying with American Airlines for approximately 24 months expires in February 2018, a date that is also rapidly approaching.  Unfortunately, with no indication from management on how they plan to keep the airline running 22 months from now, we find ourselves transitioning from questioning “Do We Have a Future Here,” to “How much longer do we have?”

Although your MEC has repeatedly asked the company on your behalf, “Does Air Wisconsin want to stay in business, and if so, how will it stay in business?” the response is always the same: “Yes, we want to stay in business, but we cannot share the plan with you.”

Unfortunately, a desire to stay in business does not equate to a plan for staying in business.  Additionally, the current industry environment and mainline trend of reducing 50-seat flying and their associated dependence on regional jet aircraft is moving as rapidly away from Air Wisconsin as February 2018 is approaching us. This industry shift may well be out of the control of company managers and owners, and when the music stops, where does this leave the pilots of Air Wisconsin?  If the company cannot or will not disclose details that directly affect the lives of every employee and employee group on the property, then we must each make hard decisions and take the necessary steps now to provide for our individual futures.

With this in mind, it has become clear to your MEC that Air Wisconsin pilots face a quickly approaching reality and must begin making plans for their careers and families beyond February 2018. Absent any hard information from management that they have a plan to stay in business, merely hoping that Air Wisconsin will survive is not a viable strategy for any of us. As has often been said, fear is not a strategy – but neither is hope. We cannot force the company to make a corporate plan, but we definitely can encourage our members to execute personal career plans. This is why we are launching our “2018: Sunrise or Sunset?” campaign.

Regardless of what management’s plan or lack of a plan is, ALPA stands ready to reasonably participate and assist in a solution. Moreover, ALPA is prepared to work jointly with the company to develop a letter of agreement ensuring that pilots remain engaged and supporting the operation until the last plane has landed and Air Wisconsin Airline Corporation has itself flown west.  But again, we cannot do this without the company meeting its reasonable and fair obligation to its employees to provide accurate and timely information. We cannot ignore the fact that as of today our airline has no one to fly for past February 2018. We all must face facts and act accordingly, however unpleasant those facts may be.

Although it remains unclear whether the sun may be setting on Air Wisconsin, the sun is finally rising again on the North American airline industry overall, and career opportunities exist for pilots and other aviation professionals who wish to transport their valuable skill set to those companies with a future to offer.  None of us want to see our carrier’s long legacy as well as the last air carrier based in Wisconsin to come to an end, but we can no longer ignore or hope against these odds absent some kind of plan from the company.

As we continue closing in on the end of the flying contract with American Airlines, ALPA stands ready to work with the Association of Flight Attendants and International Aerospace Machinists to provide as much information and support as possible to prepare you for the future and enable good decision-making. Whether the Air Wisconsin leadership will reciprocate and provide reliable data allowing us to plan for our lives past 2018 is unknown. Whether we face Sunrise or Sunset, we want you to be ready, we will keep trying to get necessary information, and we will keep you informed.

In Solidarity,

Your ARW MEC

Ken Reinert, April 25, 2016




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ARW Blog

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2018: Sunrise or Sunset?

Recently your ARW MEC held its first meeting of the year at ALPA HQ in Herndon, VA. One of the top items on the agenda was discussing the future of our airline. Many of you will remember the MEC’s 2014 “Do I Have a Future Here?” campaign – an effort to encourage management to share their corporate survival plan with us and, if they did not, encourage pilots to consider their career options.

Unfortunately, we find ourselves in this same position again, so we are launching a new information campaign called “2018: Sunrise or Sunset?”

With spring having officially arrived and looking forward to the rapidly approaching uptick in the summer flying season, many of you have asked how many summers we have left at Air Wisconsin. The conclusion of the jet services agreement extension allowing Air Wisconsin to continue flying with American Airlines for approximately 24 months expires in February 2018, a date that is also rapidly approaching.  Unfortunately, with no indication from management on how they plan to keep the airline running 22 months from now, we find ourselves transitioning from questioning “Do We Have a Future Here,” to “How much longer do we have?”

Although your MEC has repeatedly asked the company on your behalf, “Does Air Wisconsin want to stay in business, and if so, how will it stay in business?” the response is always the same: “Yes, we want to stay in business, but we cannot share the plan with you.”

Unfortunately, a desire to stay in business does not equate to a plan for staying in business.  Additionally, the current industry environment and mainline trend of reducing 50-seat flying and their associated dependence on regional jet aircraft is moving as rapidly away from Air Wisconsin as February 2018 is approaching us. This industry shift may well be out of the control of company managers and owners, and when the music stops, where does this leave the pilots of Air Wisconsin?  If the company cannot or will not disclose details that directly affect the lives of every employee and employee group on the property, then we must each make hard decisions and take the necessary steps now to provide for our individual futures.

With this in mind, it has become clear to your MEC that Air Wisconsin pilots face a quickly approaching reality and must begin making plans for their careers and families beyond February 2018. Absent any hard information from management that they have a plan to stay in business, merely hoping that Air Wisconsin will survive is not a viable strategy for any of us. As has often been said, fear is not a strategy – but neither is hope. We cannot force the company to make a corporate plan, but we definitely can encourage our members to execute personal career plans. This is why we are launching our “2018: Sunrise or Sunset?” campaign.

Regardless of what management’s plan or lack of a plan is, ALPA stands ready to reasonably participate and assist in a solution. Moreover, ALPA is prepared to work jointly with the company to develop a letter of agreement ensuring that pilots remain engaged and supporting the operation until the last plane has landed and Air Wisconsin Airline Corporation has itself flown west.  But again, we cannot do this without the company meeting its reasonable and fair obligation to its employees to provide accurate and timely information. We cannot ignore the fact that as of today our airline has no one to fly for past February 2018. We all must face facts and act accordingly, however unpleasant those facts may be.

Although it remains unclear whether the sun may be setting on Air Wisconsin, the sun is finally rising again on the North American airline industry overall, and career opportunities exist for pilots and other aviation professionals who wish to transport their valuable skill set to those companies with a future to offer.  None of us want to see our carrier’s long legacy as well as the last air carrier based in Wisconsin to come to an end, but we can no longer ignore or hope against these odds absent some kind of plan from the company.

As we continue closing in on the end of the flying contract with American Airlines, ALPA stands ready to work with the Association of Flight Attendants and International Aerospace Machinists to provide as much information and support as possible to prepare you for the future and enable good decision-making. Whether the Air Wisconsin leadership will reciprocate and provide reliable data allowing us to plan for our lives past 2018 is unknown. Whether we face Sunrise or Sunset, we want you to be ready, we will keep trying to get necessary information, and we will keep you informed.

In Solidarity,

Your ARW MEC

Ken Reinert,




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