Yes, I have stated probably half a dozen times over the past 2 weeks that these are from the 50 seat order, due to the scope limitations with the NWA pilto contract. We have no idea who will get the 75 plane, 44 seat order and considering what NWA is asking in return for them I don't want them.
They want us to take a 12% pay cut, cause it has 12% less seats. We could keep the same pay rate and get the 44 seaters for sure if we agree to a 2 year extension to our contract, not going to happen. We have the worst contract in the industry and isn't even up until 2005, plus it isn't even followed.
My view is if they want the cheapest labor group, they have it. Even at the 50 seat rate, no one could fly these for less pay, even Mesa makes more and their pilot contract is up in the Spring.
About the 44 seat order I think we will get the first batch and then they will try and play us against Mesaba with your negotiations and say, "come on, were going to give the rest to Express." There is no way one airline is getting all of them, that is a given, so I'd say its safe to say we will both be flying CRJ440s in a little over a year from now.
The pilot meeting was definitely a trip. So many pilots showed up we couldn't find a room big enough for everyone. Some good issues were brought up, we will see how they are resolved. The 44 seaters that we get come in Mid-January, but they will need two weeks or so to prove to the FAA we can operate a new type, even though its the same plane. We start to loose 2 Saabs a month over to you guys in February, and will be down to 2-3 by next January, that could change.
Good luck with your negotiations and fly safe.