Pinnacle Delays Reorganization Plan

By Bill Dries

Pinnacle Airlines Corp. has delayed filing a reorganization plan and financial disclosure to Delta Air Lines, possibly until the end of December.

The Memphis-based regional air carrier announced Tuesday, Nov. 13, that it reached the agreement Nov. 7 with Delta, the major carrier with whom Pinnacle plans to work in a bankruptcy reorganization plan that has changed several times.

The latest changes came in June, when Atlanta-based Delta reached a contract agreement with the Air Line Pilots Association that allowed it to drop service by 50-seat jets more quickly than anticipated. Delta and other carriers who use the small jets for regional service say recent rises in jet fuel have made the small planes inefficient to operate.

The labor agreement caused Pinnacle to scrap a reorganization plan it outlined in April, when the company filed for bankruptcy in New York. The emerging plan includes a push by Pinnacle for wage and benefit concessions in new contracts it is negotiating with union employees.

The more rapid move away from 50-seat jets, which Pinnacle still has in its fleet, has caused the regional carrier to have to compete with other carriers for Delta’s regional and connecting flight business.

Delta announced in October it will “refleet” to “mainline” aircraft that are 76 seats and larger, with the first of the larger jets debuting next summer.

Delta is scheduled to announce more specific details of the refleeting at a December conference in Atlanta.