CLEVELAND, April 27, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Flexjet LLC, a leading provider of fractional jet ownership and the only provider to offer Red Label by Flexjet, today questioned the logic of a recent press release issued by NetJets' pilot union arguing that a successful decertification of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 1108 by Flexjet pilots could destabilize the airline industry's unions. Not only are these claims aimed at intimidating Flexjet pilots, who will consider a vote to decertify their representation beginning May 2, but the argument is both mathematically illogical and conceptually irrelevant.
More than half of Flexjet's pilots called for the decertification vote, according to a notification the company received from the National Mediation Board (NMB) on March 29. The company was not surprised by the news because it has heard repeatedly from its pilots that they feel that the Local 1108 has overpromised and under-delivered.
Within days of the NMB notification, the NetJets pilot union and unions representing nearly all of the nation's commercial airline pilots began a public relations campaign to strong-arm Flexjet pilots and influence the election outcome in favor of the Teamsters. They insinuated that a successful decertification among nearly 600 Flexjet pilots would damage the stability of the nation's pilot unions which include both private and commercial airline pilots. Flexjet pilots represent less than one percent of them, and the industries – private versus commercial aviation – are vastly different.
Flexjet pilots function as service ambassadors who elevate and personalize the flight experience for Owners. One of the guiding principles at Flexjet is acknowledging that employees are the foundation of a service company and the company treats them accordingly. In contrast, commercial airline pilots have limited contact with passengers and play a minimal role in the direction of an airline's innovation. NetJets pilots' responsibilities and work experiences seem to align more with those of commercial airline pilots.
"It is wholly inappropriate for our competitor's union, and the nation's commercial pilot unions, to attempt to dictate the fates of Flexjet pilots. We can see how frustrating it must be for our pilots to have their communication with the company filtered through an agenda that doesn't support our business," said Flexjet Chief Executive Officer Michael Silvestro. "Flexjet pilots should be able to freely contribute to the continued growth and innovation of our business, as we execute on unique and revolutionary initiatives."
The advent of the Red Label Program at Flexjet has been problematic for the NetJets pilot union as well as NetJets. Flexjet Red Label pilots enjoy wages that exceed that of their NetJets unionized peers by as much as 25 percent. The innovative Red Label program, which gives customers a dedicated team of pilots for each aircraft, has experienced unprecedented growth with a capture rate of more than 80 percent coming from customers exiting NetJets.
This is not the first time the Columbus-based pilot union tried to interfere with Flexjet's pilots and their decision-making around union representation. During the 2015 election that was caused by the merger of Flexjet and Flight Options, the NetJets pilot union invaded the personal privacy of Flexjet pilots with a letter campaign supporting the Teamsters.
"We respect our pilots' legal right to choose their representation," said Silvestro. "The simple fact of the matter is that our pilots have a choice as to how they would like to have a relationship with the Company. This does not involve the other pilot groups. Their interference is unwarranted and illogical."
Flexjet first entered the fractional jet ownership market in 1995. Flexjet offers fractional jet ownership and leasing. Flexjet's fractional aircraft program is the first in the world to be recognized as achieving the Air Charter Safety Foundation's Industry Audit Standard, is the first and only company to be honored with 19 FAA Diamond Awards for Excellence, upholds an ARG/US Platinum Safety Rating and is IS-BAO compliant. Flexjet's fractional program fields an exclusive array of business aircraft—some of the youngest in the fractional jet industry, with an average age of approximately six years. In 2015, Flexjet introduced Red Label by Flexjet, which features the youngest fleet in the industry, flight crews dedicated to a single aircraft and the LXi Cabin Collection of interiors. To date there are more than 25 different interior designs across its fleet, which includes the Learjet 75LXi, Challenger 350, the Embraer Legacy 450, Global Express, the Gulfstream G450, G500 and G650, and the Aerion AS2 supersonic business jets. In addition, the overall jet collection includes the Embraer Phenom 300 and Bombardier Challenger 300. Flexjet is a member of the Directional Aviation family of companies. For more details on innovative programs and flexible offerings, visit www.flexjet.com or follow us on Twitter @Flexjet and on Instagram @FlexjetLLC.