United Pilots Blast CEO, Call for Smisek’s Ouster – Full Quotes from the Letter

It’s time to find a new CEO who understands how to run an airline, not just make excuses for his failures

No one else has a greater financial stake in United Airlines than the collective stake of our pilots. Our careers should not be jeopardized by the worst senior management in the airline industry.

We have absolutely zero confidence in the ability of present management to lead a turnaround

A disengaged and incompetent CEO is leading a terrible management team. A merger that should have been completed in three years or less remains incomplete after nearly four years. Interdepartmental communication and cooperation are nearly nonexistent

We have terrible employee morale and excessive outsourcing have combined with chronic operational and IT issues to drive away our elite frequent fliers in droves, driving our revenue and PRASM downward

United should be the industry leader, with the largest population and origin/destination traffic demand in our hubs and as the largest airline across both the Atlantic and the Pacific. Instead, we are always the laggard. As in past quarterly updates, we once again hear excuses as to why United is unable to perform while we watch all of our competitors earn high and record profits.

Delta and American get the suits, we get the flip-flops and backpacks

It is time to demand leadership that is actively engaged in employee morale, operational excellence, and service quality, which will always drive revenue far higher. United should be the industry leading airline. That will never happen under present management.

Pretty interesting…these are a few of the quotes from a letter sent by three top officers of the largest local chapter of the United pilots union representing NY/NJ based pilots to their 2,300 members. The letter was sent one day after UA reported a loss of $489 million excluding items for Q1. 

HT – Thanks to Mark from Yahoo! for providing the quotes!

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  1. While I totally understand the pilots point of view, Smisek comments in the last year, lead me to believe that the Board may actually want another bankruptcy. Objective being a “house cleaning”, that will force the unions to merge their seniority lists. Both UA and CO were doing better before the merger. Things should be going better after 4 years. Delta had most things done in 2 years, which leads me to believe, that this is union problem.

  2. Hey, I resent the flip-flop and backpacks comment. I pay premium fares and wear this uniform. It’s the only sensible and comfortable way to travel!

  3. @ JohnB – bankruptcy may actually be feasible now. They could extract concessions from the unions and more easily eliminate redundancies that the unions may previously have forced them to pay a fortune to get rid of. Normally there are no guarantees going into bankruptcy but this would seem to be a safe time to do it. With the recent AA/USair merger, there is simply no way the government would allow United to be liquidated and its assets sold off to the highest bidder. Doing so would result far too much control for AA and Delta going forward. The government would be forced to accept a prepackaged bankruptcy like the one we saw with GM.

    That said, if I was a big UA shareholder, I would be working create a voting block for the next annual meeting to throw out the 1/3 of the board up for reelection and get a slate of anti-Smisek directors elected.

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