EAST WENATCHEE — Flight cancellations continue for Alaska Airlines due to pilot shortages, but that has not affected Pangborn Memorial Airport.
“Wenatchee has not experienced any delays or cancellations related to Alaska pilots,” Camille Koenig, station manager for Horizon Air at Pangborn Memorial Airport, wrote in an email.
That’s largely because “Horizon flies into Pangborn — Horizon is a subsidiary of Alaska with its own pool of pilots,” Cailee Olson, media relations manager for Alaska Airlines, wrote in an email.
Alaska’s pool of pilots, however, is being squeezed by union negotiations on top of increased demand for pilots among all airlines as more people travel.
“Alaska Airlines pilots haven’t negotiated a full contract since 2013 and need critical contract improvements,” according to alaskapilots.org, which is operated by the union representing Alaska pilots, Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l.
Alaska said that in addition to the pilot shortage, cancellations were due to higher demand.
“Across the industry, airlines are seeing a strain on pilot capacity as air travel demand returns; airlines are all hiring, and airlines are hiring faster than we’re able to hire and train new pilots,” Olson wrote. “We continue to appreciate the patience of our guests. We apologize for the inconvenience and frustration we have caused because so many travel plans have been disrupted. We keep working hard to get everyone to their destinations as quickly as we can.”
Some of the points Alaska pilots are asking for include placing “strong restrictions on who does the flying while limiting outsourcing.” They also want Alaska to speed up completion of its monthly schedule because it takes “more days on average to complete than those at comparable airlines — meaning Alaska pilots are kept away from home more days each month,” according to alaskapilots.org. “Alaska pilots are not guaranteed a full day’s pay for each day they must be away from home.”
People can check their flight status at alaskaair.com/flightstatus.