US Airways'' Siegel addresses Wings Club of New York



US Airways'' Siegel addresses Wings Club of New York
ARLINGTON ( - President and CEO Dave Siegel today addressed the Wings Club of New York, a prominent aviation club. In his speech, Siegel provided an overview of current industry challenges faced by mature network carriers, specifically the need to alter the government-industry relationship to allow for survival and growth. The second key message was how the industry’s managements and labor unions must find a way to chart a much more predictable, stable course.
Of the government-related concerns affecting mature carriers, the challenge is to change the over-taxing and over-regulating that is burdening the industry. Siegel said as much as 44 percent of the price of an airline ticket can go to cover the cost of government user fees and taxes, which is paralyzing carriers. “Unless the government-industry relationship is altered,â€￾ he said, “there will not be a permanent solution to the industry’s economic merry-go-round.â€￾
In speaking generally about airline labor unions, Siegel said unions have a job to ensure that employees work in safe, secure environments and are fairly compensated. However, he said protecting the interests of membership must be balanced against “making sure their company can execute a sustainable business model, meaning wages, benefits and work rules that are adaptable to a changing marketplace.â€￾
Of US Airways’ labor-management relationship specifically, Siegel said, “Our employees and union officials have largely stepped up to the challenge and have worked with us to implement significant, permanent changes and cost savings that are necessary components of our restructuring.â€￾ He said management also has a responsibility to make decisions with long-term success in mind, while being open, fair, and labor-friendly. “Our restructuring has been designed to save the company, preserve as many jobs as possible, and offer competitive wages and benefits,â€￾ he said.
Siegel concluded that US Airways is prepared to make tough decisions in partnership with employees to restructure the airline into a competitive force. He said, “I remain hopeful that our unions and employees will stick with us as we complete this process. And I can only hope that our public officials will continue to focus on creating an environment where we can flourish.â€￾