Call it a near miss.
Allegiant Air pilots were set to go on strike today. Meaning flights from Medford to Las Vegas and Los Angeles would have been cancelled because the Las Vegas-based travel company didn’t have enough back-ups available.
The pilots union, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 1224, announced Wednesday it’s veteran pilots would not fly because the discount carrier failed to restore benefits taken away during the economic downturn.
However, Judge Gloria Navarro of the U.S. District Court in Nevada approved Allegiant’s request for a temporary restraining order against the Allegiant pilots.
She said he strike would likely prove to be illegal and that it would cause irreparable harm to the discount carrier. Allegiant operates about 175 flights a day, and a strike would have cost the airline $7.7 million a day, according to court documents.
Allegiant’s base fares are bargains, but ups the ante for seat assignments, putting bags in overhead bins, soft drinks and water.
Although a strike may not have ended the current run of record months for the Medford airport, it would have messed up Easter vacation plans for hundreds of local residents.
Airport Director Bern Case said he didn’t recall a strike cancelling flights in his nearly two decades in Medford.
“The last labor issue I remember was very much before I came to this airport,” Case said.
Sticking with the airline industry, Alaska Air Group unit Horizon Air, Medford’s market share leader, reported a 7.0 percent system-wide increase in March traffic on a 5.1 percent increase in capacity from March 2014. The carrier said it had a 1.4 point increase in load factor to a March record of 81.3 percent. Horizon also reported 85.9 percent of its flights arrived on time in March, compared to the 85.4 percent a year earlier.