Hawaiian Airlines pilots walk picket line

Sam Taeu
Sam Taeu

By Roger Mari - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - Hawaiian Airlines was ranked the number one carrier for service quality in 2008. While customers like the way they're being treated, it's a different story in the cockpit.

Hawaiian Airlines scored high in on-time performance at 90 percent, but about 400 pilots are unhappy with the delay in negotiations for a new contract. One thing they're asking for are cost of living adjustments.

"We feel it's been taking a little bit too long. What we're asking for is fair and affordable. The company, we feel is in a position that they can do this at this time," said Sam Taeu of Air Line Pilots Association.

While Monday's demonstration looked like a strike, the pilots say it's just they're way of letting management know that two years of negotiations is too long.

"Our intent is just to get our message across that we are committed to resolving this as soon as possible and we'll do everything we can to avoid disruption to our service," said Sam Taeu.

The picketing comes on the day the Airline Quality Rating report announces that Hawaiian Airlines is the nation's top airline.

"It's a reflection of the company as a whole from the top to the bottom," said Sam Taeu.

It's a distinct achievement these pilots hope to earn in years to come, which will start when negotiations begin.

"Get this done as soon as possible so we can move on to doing what we do best and that is serving the public taking care of the state residents as well as our tourism industry," said Sam Taeu.

The last scheduled mediation session begins tomorrow.

Hawaiian Airlines released a statement late Monday afternoon saying:

"Negotiations are continuing with the help of a federal mediator, who is holding additional meeting dates in future months if an agreement isn't reached soon."