The scope clause is still in effect, although it has been somewhat modified.
The original scope clause that was negotiated after the NW
pilot strike in 1998 basically stated:
flies everything with 70 seats or more
- Mesaba Avro's are grandfathered under the scope restrictions, limiting 36 of these aircraft, but they will be capped at 69 seats. (There was some odd provision that would've allowed for an additional 36 Avro's, but it never happened)
- A limit for aircraft with more than 44 seats: Thus the limited number of 50 seat CRJ's, with the remainder being capped at 44 seats, hence the CRJ-440's
- No hub overflying with aircraft of more than 44 seats (hence 44 seaters flying the MKE
, LAN, etc) routes. The Avro is allowed to overfly on GRR
, due to the higher aircraft weight which is greater than the capped restricitons.
- Limited Airlink flying to Mesaba & Pinnacle
With the concessionary contract that was voted on last fall:
pilots relaxed the 44 seat cap, allowing for more 50 seat CRJ's. All remaining CRJ deliveries will be with 50 seats, and some existing 44 seaters will be converted in 50 seaters.
Allowed for a provision that would allow NW
to add up to 40 RJ
's for another regional airline in the event of another airline collapse. Hence the "third Airlink" provision, that was basically a hedge to use to big up an orphan regional who was looking for a place to put their RJ
's should United, US, whoever go deep-6.
So, no, as of yet, the NW
mainline pilots have not released the 70 seat scope. They haven't budged on the 50 seat and up scope, as it is still limited to the 36 Avro's.
It will be interesting to see what plays out. As AZJ predicts it is very likely the scope clause will be relaxed on the 70 seaters, but the 90 seaters will likely be a tough sticking point. Thats the wildcard here.
Some other things to consider:
Pinnacle CRJ deliveries will be running out at the end of '05, or early '06. They're up to 121 CRJ's now, leaving about 18 left to go. Doubtful we will see too many more 50 seaters delivered, there is only so many places they can economically be flown. However, IND
expansion and several new cities coming online will take up most of the new deliveries for the time being. Gate space in DTW
will become the constraining issue for the Airlinks.
The Avro's, I agree it makes sense for them to be 85 seaters, and that could very well happen. 69 seats just isn't economical. In scope negotiations it would make sense for them to give up some of the 70 seat issue, and allow the Avro's to become 85 seaters. Only problem now is, that Mesaba most likely can't be a 3 aircraft airline. Saabs, Avro's, and the new 70 seaters, something has got to give. Saab's are going anywhere anytime soon.
In terms of the Saab's, if XJ
is looking for a replacement for 106, they might as well replace the rest of the A models with B's. With the seat cover replacement, those leather covers didn't age too well. They used to be a heck of a lot lighter when they were brand new.
Interesting times ahead. However, I bet the big news/annoucement was indeed the Mechanic's Strike Vote. Everything else has been rather quiet lately.
Oh, and why does 513 smell like mayonaisse???? That aircraft has a rank smell!