Republic Leads Airline Gains as Mediators Set Pilot Meeting

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Republic Airways Holdings Inc. jumped the most among U.S. airlines after federal mediators set a Sept. 16 meeting that may rekindle contract negotiations with the carrier’s pilots union and help avoid a bankruptcy filing.

The National Mediation Board asked both sides Wednesday to attend the session in Washington, where the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 357 will give the regional carrier its latest counterproposal, union local President James Clark said in an interview. The union declined to allow members to vote on Republic’s last offer.

“If we can negotiate, we’ll start” after presenting the union plan at the
meeting, Clark said. “If it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen. It really
depends on what the company does.”

Republic said it will attend the meeting in Washington.

“Our proposed contract remains on the table,” the company said in a statement Wednesday. “We continue to believe the appropriate next step is for the union to abide by its constitution and let our pilots vote.”

The carrier’s inability to secure a new contract with higher pay is one reason the company, which makes flights for bigger airlines, is suffering from a pilot shortage that it says may lead to a court-supervised restructuring. Republic has negotiated with American, United and Delta airlines to reduce its flying through the rest of this year, and may need to seek further concessions.

Republic rose 8.4 percent to $3.35 at the close in New York. The stock has fallen 77 percent this year.