Airline CEO’s And Union Leaders Sign Historic Joint Venture Protocol


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Airline CEO’s And Union Leaders Sign Historic Joint Venture Protocol

By Jim Douglas

June 24, 2010 - The chief executive officers of Delta Air Lines, Air France and KLM met with pilot union leaders from their respective airlines to sign a six-way Joint Venture (JV) Protocol which recognizes that a cooperative and productive relationship is essential to the success of the corporations’ Joint Venture Agreement, which was established in May 2009.

In signing the agreement, the leaders committed to mutual understanding and information sharing between each other concerning all aspects of the agreement and recognize that the success of the Joint Venture will provide benefits and opportunities for all parties.

The agreement establishes intent by the parties to provide a seamless high quality travel experience, enable the further development of the transatlantic route structure and increase the profitability of the JV, as well as to strengthen the respective airline hubs. A primary goal of the agreement is to promote the success and prosperity of the JV and all parties to this agreement.

Airline executives and pilot labor leaders sign Joint Venture Protocol. (From left to right: Delta CEO Richard Anderson, Delta MEC Chairman Captain Lee Moak, Air France Chairman and CEO Pierre Henri Gourgeon, Air France ALPA President Captain Louis Jobard, KLM President and CEO Peter F. Hartman, and VNV President Captain Evert van Zwol.)


“This is a milestone agreement, and I believe it will serve as a template for future labor-management engagement in the industry’s globalization arena,” said Captain Lee Moak, Chairman of the Delta Master Executive Council of the Air Line Pilots Association.

“Recent joint venture agreements at other properties have alienated labor by treating labor not as a partner, but as just another cost to be managed. In today’s global marketplace, that is a formula for disaster. Instead, when the long-term interests of management and labor are aligned, it makes much more sense to engage through a professional working relationship for the benefit of all parties.”

The Protocol Agreement sets forth an understanding between the parties concerning the Joint Venture and establishes intent to promote the success and prosperity of the Joint Venture. For example, the agreement establishes a metric to help ensure that there is a balance of work between the parties.


“As pilot labor, we view it as critically essential that no single corporation or pilot group benefits at the expense of the other, and this agreement helps to establish a level of mutual trust and cooperation between all parties to the agreement” VNV President Captain Evert van Zwol explained.

“International joint ventures are the next step in our industry’s evolution, and involving labor as a partner at the outset provides for a much greater probability of long-term success. We are pleased that the executives of KLM, Air France and Delta recognize this.”

In addition to establishing a balance of flying between the carriers, the agreement calls for the corporations to provide their respective pilot unions with “detailed historical and projected operating and financial information on the JV” on a regular basis as well as periodic meetings “to further develop relationships and to share information on the status, progress and future initiatives of the JV, in order to enhance the success of the JV.”

“This agreement is built upon a cornerstone of collaboration rather than confrontation and on mutual benefit rather than antagonism” said Air France ALPA President Captain Louis Jobard. “Our airline executive teams understand that labor is an important asset in the Joint Venture. This Protocol Agreement helps to establish a strong and stable foundation for the Joint Venture moving forward, which is vitally important to its success.”

The Joint Venture Protocol Agreement became effective at its signing and remains in effect concurrent with the Joint Venture agreement.


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