NetJets And Union Avoid Layoffs

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NetJets Aviation Inc., the Berkshire Hathaway owned and largest fractional jet ownership operator in the U.S., has agreed with its pilots union on voluntary measures to avoid layoffs. Since December, declines in the use of fractional jets have ranged up to 50 percent in monthly year-over-year figures. NetJets specifically had to contend with that as a reduction in revenue while also writing down the value of its fleet by $54 million to reflect the falling value of its fleet. Faced with that, NetJets executives and union leaders for the NetJets Association of Shared Aircraft Pilots cooperatively devised cost-cutting measures that would avoid layoffs during the business decline. NetJets pilots have been encouraged by their union leaders to choose either reduced work hours, leaves of absence or early retirement. In a letter to its members, the union called the measures, "unparalleled in the aviation industry and reflective of a genuine labor-management partnership," and encouraged pilots to select one of the proposed options.

In an industry hit hard by recession and political pressures, NetJets remains one example of a company that has not yet laid off pilots and still employs about 3,000. NetJets last year confirmed its plans to maintain its operations in Columbus, Ohio, and to invest $200 million in a new campus at Port Columbus, according to the Columbus Dispatch.